Vehicle Malfunction Caused California Apple Fire

27,569 acres, and 30% containment

 

Firefighters work against the Apple Fire near Banning, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

 

BANNING, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire in mountains east of Los Angeles that has forced thousands of people from their homes was sparked by a malfunctioning diesel vehicle, fire officials said Monday.

The vehicle spewed burning carbon from its exhaust system, igniting several fires Friday on Oak Glen Road in Cherry Valley, and authorities were asking anyone who may have seen such a vehicle at the time to contact investigators, according to a statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze in Riverside County, among several wildfires across California, had consumed nearly 42 square miles (more than 108 square kilometers) of dry brush and chaparral since it broke out Friday evening, fire officials said.

As of Monday night, it was just 7% contained and the fire along with coronavirus precautions made for added stress at an evacuation center, said John Medina, an American Red Cross spokesman.

See also  NASA Grant Helps Maine Scientist Study Wildfire Effects

InciWeb: Apple Fire Updates

Volunteers used to “close contact” with evacuees have had to adjust their approach during a time of social distancing, Medina said.

“I mean, that’s part of the recovery of a disaster, is that you have to show warmth and love and caring. And that’s hard when you’re standing 6 feet away. So that’s the biggest challenge,” Medina told KESQ-TV.

Bill Boehm helped his mother evacuate her home with her three horses and said the pandemic hasn’t stopped people from coming together to assist each other.

“Everyone seemed to be wearing masks and such, so that type of precaution was still going on,” Boehm told the news station.

Photos: California Apple Fire

The blaze began as two adjacent fires in a rural area near the city of Beaumont, about 85 miles (137 kilometers) east of downtown Los Angeles.

See also  Wildfire in Arizona Under Investigation

Flames raced along brushy ridge tops and came close to houses while firefighters attacked from the ground and air. By nightfall, the flames were burning into the San Gorgonio Wilderness, where the brush was becoming sparse and limited the fire’s intensity, according to Zach Behrens, a spokesman for the San Bernardino National Forest.

Five buildings had been destroyed, including at least one home, authorities said. One firefighter was treated for an injury and returned to work.

In Northern California, evacuations were ordered after a wildfire that sparked Sunday afternoon spread quickly and burned near homes near the East Park Reservoir in Colusa County. Complicating firefighters’ efforts were temperatures in the area north of Sacramento climbed to 98 degrees (37 Celsius) by Monday afternoon. The fire was 40% contained.

On California’s central coast, a fire in San Luis Obispo County was 60% contained Monday after burning more than 2 square miles (6 square kilometers) of brush east of the community of Santa Margarita. Two structures were destroyed but officials said it was unclear whether they were homes.

See also  Firefighters Battle Colorado Fire on 400 Acres

In Riverside County, officials allowed flames from the Apple Fire to run up the side of Mount San Gorgonio, an 11,000-foot (3,350-meter) peak, because it wasn’t safe to let crews work in such steep, rugged terrain, said Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.

Evacuation orders and advisories were issued for about 2,500 homes in mountain, canyon and foothill neighborhoods. Campgrounds and hiking trails were closed in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area of the San Bernardino National Forest.

A smoke plume was visible for miles around and contributed to poor air quality.

Firefighters fought the blaze in scorching weather. The temperature hit 111 degrees (44 Celsius) on Monday in nearby Palm Spring.

All contents © copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Topics

27,569 acres, and 30% containment     BANNING, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire in mountains east of Los Angeles that has forced thousands of people from their homes was sparked by a malfunctioning diesel vehicle, fire officials said Monday. The vehicle spewed burning carbon from its exhaust system, igniting several fires Friday on Oak Glen […]

Get The Wildland Firefighter Newsletter

Related Articles

Wildfire Threatens Unspoiled GA Island Rich in History

Wildfire Threatens Unspoiled GA Island Rich in History

  By RUSS BYNUM Associated Press ST. CATHERINES ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Wildfires sparked by lightning have scorched hundreds of acres on this unspoiled island off the Georgia coast, where crews are battling to protect plantation ruins, the remnants of a 16th century...

Biden Signs Off on Hefty Pay Raise for Federal Firefighters

Biden Signs Off on Hefty Pay Raise for Federal Firefighters

By AAMER MADHANI Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has signed off on giving federal wildland firefighters a hefty raise for the next two fiscal years, a move that affects more than 16,000 firefighters and comes as much of the West braces for a...

How’re You Feeling These Days?

How’re You Feeling These Days?

When I first started firefighting as a seasonal with the Forest Service, my only stress had to do with my physical stamina to keep up with the crew and making sure my boots weren’t causing me any hot spots. Did I have enough water? Should I double lunch today? By the...