Southern Fire burns structures southeast of Julian, CA

CAL FIRE reports it has blackened 5,184 acres

Updated at 4:54 p.m. PDT May 2, 2021

Southern Fire map
Southern Fire map at approximately 2 p.m. PDT May 2, 2021. Data from NIFC/FIRIS.

CAL FIRE has updated size of the Southern Fire near Shelter Valley 8 miles southeast of Julian, California, reporting at 2:35 p.m. Sunday that it had burned 5,184 acres.

As seen in the photo below taken at 4:43 p.m. Sunday four miles away from Monument Peak, the fire from that distance looks pretty quiet.

Southern Fire
The Southern Fire (at the arrow) as seen from Monument Peak, looking north at 4:43 p.m. PDT May, 2, 2021. ALERTWildfire.

Resources assigned to the fire include 20 engines, 8 water tenders, 10 hand crews, and four dozers, for a total of about 200 personnel.

10:00 a.m. PDT May 2, 2021

Southern Fire map 3:18 a.m. PDT May 2, 2021
Southern Fire map, APPROXIMATE LOCATION, from data as late as 3:18 a.m. PDT May 2, 2021. It is based on satellite and FIRIS data. This is APPROXIMATE fire location information, not to be used for planning or decision making.

The Southern Fire in East San Diego County 8 miles southeast of Julian, California has prompted the evacuation of about 500 people and destroyed three structures in Shelter Valley. The residents were relocated from the Butterfield Ranch Campground to Agua Caliente.

At 9:43 a.m. Sunday there was a relatively small amount of smoke visible from Monument Peak which is near Mount Laguna.

Southern Fire May 2, 2021
The Southern Fire as seen from Monument Peak, looking north at 9:43 a.m. PDT May 2, 2021. ALERTWildfire.

At about 9 a.m. PDT Sunday morning CAL FIRE reported that the Southern Fire had burned 2,900 acres. (See map above.) Firefighters battled strong 40 to 60 mph winds during the night, and according to the forecast the weather is going to continue to be a challenge.

A wind advisory is in effect for San Diego County for strong winds through Sunday night. In the fire area the wind is predicted to increase from 23 mph gusting to 36 at 11 a.m. out of the west and west-southwest, to 32 mph gusting to 47 by 5 p.m. It will then gradually decrease by 6 a.m. Monday to 12 mph gusting to 20 out of the northwest. The high temperature on Sunday will be 77 degrees with a minimum relative humidity of 27 percent. The humidity will increase Sunday night to 40 to 55 percent.

Five miles west of the fire and 2,000 higher in elevation at Harrison Park, Cuyamaca State Park, and Julian, low clouds have increased the humidity to 100 percent.

Since the fire was reported at about 4 p.m. on Saturday, it has been spreading generally to the east and southeast.

Wildfire forces evacuations southeast of Julian, CA

The “Southern Fire” is near Highway S-2

Updated at 10:09 p.m. PDT May 1, 2021

Southern Fire map
Southern Fire map, approximately 8 p.m. MDT May 1, 2021.

The FIRIS Intel 12 mapping aircraft overflew the Southern Fire at approximately 8:00 p.m. May 1 and determined that it had burned at least 1,500 acres. At that time the fire was still actively spreading.

Updated at 7:09 p.m. PDT May 1, 2021

CAL FIRE reported at 6:38 p.m. Saturday that the Southern Fire southeast of Julian, CA had grown to approximately 1,200 acres and 3 structures had been destroyed. About 500 residents have evacuated from the Butterfield Ranch Campground. After evacuation, the assembly point is Agua Caliente.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Southern Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)

The fire is spreading to the east pushed by strong winds measured at 33 mph with gusts to 40 at the Harrison Park weather station at 6:50 p.m.

The weather forecast for the fire area produced by the NWS at 5:31 p.m. Saturday predicts the gusty winds will continue through Sunday. For Saturday night, the wind will be out of the northwest at 15 to 20 with gusts to 25, with 45 percent humidity. On Sunday the wind will be a little stronger in the afternoon with 20 percent humidity and a temperature of 82.

Originally published at 5:35 p.m. PDT May 1, 2021

Southern Fire map
Map showing the approximate location of the Southern Fire in East San San Diego County, May 1, 2021.

Saturday afternoon the Southern Fire that was reported at about 4 p.m. in East San Diego County in Southern California spread quickly pushed by strong winds. The fire is in the community of Shelter Valley near Highway S-2 south of the Highway 78 Banner Grade about 11 miles southeast of Julian.

At 5:13 p.m. CAL FIRE said evacuations were in progress for the Butterfield Ranch campground.

At about 4:50 p.m. PDT on Saturday an Air Attack aircraft reported structures were threatened and the fire had burned about 40 acres with a critical rate of spread.

Southern Fire at 5:07 p.m. PDT May 1, 2021
Southern Fire, looking north from Monument Peak at 5:07 p.m. PDT May 1, 2021. ALERTwildfire image.

At 4:45 p.m. PDT a weather station not far from the blaze recorded 20 mph winds gusting out of the west-northwest at 35 mph. The wind is keeping the smoke close to the ground, rather than rising and creating a large vertical column. The temperature was 82 degrees with 8 percent relative humidity. Under those conditions water or retardant-dropping aircraft would would have reduced effectiveness.