California: Big Horn fire update

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The Big Horn fire near Big Bear, California, was not very active today until this afternoon, when it made a sizable uphill run on the west side. Before that the size was 310 acres and they were reporting 10% containment. Judging from their map, updated at 4:50 local time today, it probably increased by at least 100 acres up to the time that map was made.

If the 396 people managed by Carlton Joseph’s Type 2 Incident Management Team don’t make much progress later today or tonight, they are going to be seriously challenged Thursday and Friday by what will be very strong winds and possibly record heat of around 100 degrees in the valleys.

Corvette fire apparatus

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I first read about this on Firegeezer and Firefighter blog, but HERE is a story about Dubai using a Corvette as a fast response fire apparatus. The theory is that it can get to a fire quickly and size it up or put it out, perhaps saving property and lives. Here is an excerpt from the story:

Brigadier Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, Director of Dubai Civil Defence, said the civil defence will soon start using a customised Corvette car to attend to fires quickly, to prevent them spreading.

He said the car is a small, light and fast car which can beat traffic and contains highly-effective firefighting and prevention systems in addition to rescue equipment in cases where people are trapped in cars.

Equipment in the car includes a portable fire extinguisher, hydraulic equipment, firefighting equipment and first aid equipment.

Brigadier Al Matroushi who suggested the idea of developing a sports car and followed up its development daily, said one of the reasons behind a fire getting worse was the distance between civil defence centres and accident locations. The large size of civil defence vehicles makes it difficult to arrive quickly at the scene, therefore the need arose to develop a fast car.

Captain Sulaiman Abdulkareem, Director of Civil Defence Technical Affairs, said the developing of the car took two months by four members.

Suspect arrested for starting a fire in Florida

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Firegeezer has information about a suspect being arrested this morning for starting a fire in Brevard County in Florida. It is Brian Crowder, who was arrested after a surveillance effort by 60 officers observed him exit his car, walk into a vegetated area, and drive away. A fire then started in that location.

Officers pursued him, but lost him. Eventually, following up on license plate information, they found him, but he ran into the woods. Police set up a perimeter, closed in on him and arrested him. He is now in a hospital being treated for dog bite wounds.

It is not clear if Crowder will be charged with starting some of the other fires in Brevard County.

Bighorn fire; Mt. Baldy, So. Calif.

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UPDATE, 5/13/2008 @ 5:38 MT
The winds have died down to about 5-15 mph and the size is reported to be 300 acres. The weather forecast for the valley south of the fire calls for decreasing winds this evening and tonight at 2-8 mph, with the RH going up into the 50’s tonight. Tomorrow afternoon they expect west winds of 14 with gusts up to 22.

Here is an updated map, showing heat (in red) detected by satellites.

The Bighorn fire near Mount Baldy in southern California started early this morning. It is being pushed by 15-20 mph winds gusting up to 60 mph which at times made it impossible for aircraft to be used. The last report on the size was 200 acres. It is being managed by LA County and the US Forest Service and is burning in the Bear Creek drainage which has not burned since 1975. Mt. Baldy Village is not threatened at this time.

Smoke from the fire can be seen from the UCLA Dept. of Physics & Astronomy live web cam. The cam does not refresh automatically.

Heat from the fire is showing up on satellite imagery as you can see by the red areas on the map below.

Florida fires

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Winds from a stalled cold front yesterday pushed some fires in Florida into populated areas.

The Osage fire in Brevard County, near Valkaria, Florida has burned 3,000 acres and at least 5 homes. A witness saw someone drop something out of a car, and the fire started shortly afterward. The map below shows heat detected by satellites last night. Click on the maps to see larger versions.

The LPGA fire west of Daytona Beach is 797 acres and caused the evacuation of 500 homes yesterday and the closure of a stretch of LPGA Boulevard. The satellite map below shows a relatively small amount of heat detected last night.

Photo courtesy of the AP.