Wildfires Being Managed as
“San Gabriel Complex Fire”

Two wildfires in the Los Angeles National Forest–dubbed theFish Fire and Reservoir Fire when they first erupted–have not yet merged, but are only a mile and a half apart. So far, these fires have burned nearly 5,000 acres in the foothills and mountains north of the San Gabriel Valley, according to fire officials.

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“It is a possibility that the two fires would merge,” Andrew Mitchell, a spokesman for the team battling the Reservoir Fire, stated.

The fires are now being managed as a single conflagration, called the San Gabriel Complex Fire, authorities said. More than 600 firefighters are battling both blazes, which are being fueled by dry brush and chaparral.

The heat wave which is pummeling the Los Angeles area with triple-digit temperatures and high winds, caused the fires to quickly spread and has exacerbated conditions for first responders.

Hundreds of firefighters and workers with the U.S. Forest Service have trekked into the foothills to try to contain the spread of these fires, but the intense heat has made it extremely difficult.

High winds have been fanning the flames, and rocky terrain has made moving around the hillside challenging, according to Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Gustavo Medina.

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Crews were able to use water-dropping helicopters to slow the fire’s advance, but it is still “very uncontrolled,” Medina said.

Short on Resources

In addition, fire crews have been “a little short on resources” according to incident commander Mike Wakoski, because so many staff had been deployed to fight blazes in Santa Barbara County (the “Sherpa Fire”) and San Diego County (the “Border Fire). The causes of both the Fish Fire and Reservoir Fire are under investigation, although fire officials believe the Reservoir Fire may have been sparked by a car crash when a vehicle plunged off Highway 39 and caught fire.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for more than 1,200 households, and 10 separate roadways have been closed. Officials have warned that additional evacuations may yet be ordered.

Creative Commons Photo by Zackmann08

Progress in Sherpa Fire

Meanwhile, firefighters are continuing to make steady progress in handling the Sherpa Fire, northwest of Santa Barbara that has burned nearly 8,000 acres in an area of ranches and campgrounds. That fire is 70 percent contained, according to fire officials.

Officials have also said communities evacuated in the Sherpa Fire may start to return home soon, unless conditions change dramatically.

Bureau of Land Management Photo, Public Domain

In addition, fire crews from across the state are being sent home or redeployed to the other active wildfires — the Border Fire, Fish Fire, and Reservoir Fire.

Border Fire

Just north of the U.S.-Mexico border a wildfire fueled by dry brush and sweltering heat continues to scorch 7,500 acres and has prompted mandatory evacuations for the 700 residents of Potrero, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

So far, two homes have been destroyed, and the blaze continues to threaten about 1,000 additional residences north of Potrero, according to Cal Fire. The cause of the Border Fire is still under investigation.


Featured Image: Creative Commons Photo by Scott L.

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San Gabriel Valley Tribune

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