Additional evacuation warnings issued for Apple Fire

The fire has burned over 29,000 acres north of Beaumont, California

Updated August 7, 2020 | 12:43 p.m. PDT

Smoke over the Apple Fire
Smoke over the Apple Fire as seen from Snow Peak, looking southeast at 12:28 p.m. PDT August 7, 2020.

The U.S. Forest Service said at about 11:30 a.m. Friday that the very large amount of smoke on the east side of the Apple Fire is the result of a burn out operation:

This is a planned event and has adequate aerial support and ground resources in the area. The smoke is a result of crews doing a burn out operation to remove fuels in front of the fire.

Smoke over the Apple Fire
Smoke over the Apple Fire as seen from Bear Mountain, looking southeast at 12:27 p.m. PDT August 7, 2020.
Smoke over the Apple Fire
U.S. Forest Service photo.

August 7, 2020 | 6:50 a.m. PDT

Map of the Apple Fire
Map of the Apple Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 10:58 p.m. PDT August 6, 2020. The white line was the perimeter about 48 hours before.

More evacuation warnings were issued Thursday for the Apple Fire which has been burning since July 31 north of Beaumont and Banning in southern California. One of the areas on the list is the community of Morongo Valley. A warning is one level below an evacuation order.

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

“There is a potential threat to life and/or property,” the Sheriff’s Department said. “Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now.”

apple fire photo
This photo of the Apple Fire was shot by Sandy Wood August 1, 2020. It is looking east from Mill Creek in Forest Falls up to Mill Creek Jumpoff, with Galena Peak burning to the right.

A mapping flight at 10:58 p.m. Thursday determined that the Apple Fire had burned 29,267 acres. The largest concentrations of heat at that time were on the east side as it burned into Willard Canyon and Bear Wallow Spring.  Another area of intense heat was on the northwest side of the fire where it was spreading near Cedar Mountain.

Very Large Air Tankers, a DC-10 and a 747, at San Bernardino Air Tanker Base
Two Very Large Air Tankers, a DC-10 and a 747, at the San Bernardino Air Tanker Base 16 miles northwest of the Apple Fire. USFS photo.

From the Incident Management Team Thursday night:

“Firefighters made good progress in the Oak Glen area and were able to build direct line just below the fire. The fire is headed towards a rocky area. The smoke in this area was due to heavy fuels burning on the top of Yucaipa Ridge.

“The fire burned through heavy fuels in the Millard Canyon area, but stayed in place on the western slopes of Millard Canyon. Planes and helicopters built a line of fire retardant today in preparation for firing out a portion of the vegetation this evening. The goal is to build a containment line to prevent fire movement to the east to the communities of Morongo Valley and Pioneertown.

“The fire has stayed in place in the San Gorgonio Wilderness to the north. Firefighters have made good progress with mop-up and backhaul of trash and excess equipment in the origin area of Cherry Valley and Banning Canyon; this area will be in patrol status tomorrow.”

Photo of the 747 Supertanker dropping on the Palmer Fire

(Originally published at 7:22 a.m. MDT September 5, 2017 on

A few days ago Cy Phenice sent us an excellent photo of Air Tanker 944, the 747 SuperTanker, dropping on the Palmer Fire south of Yucaipa, California which we published September 3. Now we have another great photo of the huge airplane dropping on the fire.

It was taken by Leroy Leggit with a Nikon D810. He shot it at 1/800, F 5.6, using a 70-200mm lens at 150mm.

He said he took the photo from the top of a hill looking down at the aircraft.

747 Palmer Fire
Air Tanker 944, a 747-400, drops near structures on the Palmer Fire south of Yucaipa, California at 4:25 p.m. PDT September 2, 2017. Photo by Leroy Leggitt, used with permission.

He told us:

I didn’t know anything about the 747 supertanker until it appeared to my right (at eye level) headed straight toward the fire… what an amazing and unexpected sight… I looked online and saw that it had only been in service for a few days.

The Palmer Fire was reported at 1:33 p.m. MDT September 2, 2017. It is nearly officially contained according to CAL FIRE after burning 3,874 acres.

This was the second fire the aircraft was used on after receiving certification and a contract from CAL FIRE. The 747 was dispatched from McClellan Air Field near Sacramento. According to FlightAware it cruised south at over 600 mph at times before dropping on the fire about an hour later, then reloaded at McClellan and completed a second sortie, dropping almost 19,000 gallons again, splitting the load into two drops.