Several fires ignited in southern California yesterday during dry and windy conditions. Media reports indicate structures have been destroyed by multiple fires and evacuations remain in place. Extreme fire weather conditions will continue today in southern California meaning already burning fires may exhibit extreme fire behavior leading to difficulty in suppression and containment, and newly ignited fires will spread quickly.
The Saddleridge Fire ignited late on Thursday in Sylmar, California and quickly grew to over 4,000 acres. At the time of ignition wind gusts were estimated to be in excess of 60 miles per hour allowing the fire to quickly spread. CalFire has issued mandatory evacuations for an estimated 12,700 homes and 100,000 residents. CalFire currently states that one commercial structure has been destroyed by the fire and an unknown number of homes have been destroyed. Containment of the Saddleridge Fire currently stands at 0 percent. Approximate location of the Saddleridge Fire in California. Fire Detection in last 6 hours (dark red), last 12 hours (red), last 24 hours (orange), beyond 24 hours (yellow) Source: USFS/MODIS
Sandalwood and Reche Fires
In Riverside County at least two fires have forced evacuations. The Sandalwood Fire started midday on Thursday in Calimesa, California and quickly grew to 500 acres. CalFire determined the source of the fire to be burning debris from a trash truck that was dumped into vegetation; the fire quickly spread under dry, windy conditions. Evacuations remain in place and CalFire reports that 74 structures have been destroyed with 16 additional structures suffering damage. Media reports indicate that the fire destroyed multiple structures in a manufactured home park. CalFire is currently reporting the Sandalwood Fire is 10 percent contained.
To the west of the Sandalwood Fire in Moreno Park, California the Reche fire also started midday on Thursday growing to approximately 350 acres. As of Thursday night all evacuation orders for the Reche Fire were lifted however the fire is still burning with CalFire reporting 10 percent containment of the fire.
Approximate location of the Sandalwood and Reche Fires in California. Source: USGS/GeoMac
Fire Weather Conditions
Extremely critical and critical fire weather conditions are expected to persist through at least today in southern California according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Relative humidities are forecast to drop below 5 percent in some areas with sustained winds of 15-30 miles per hour with gusts of 40-70 miles per hour. These conditions are expected to peak in the late morning to early afternoon although critical fire weather conditions will continue through the balance of the afternoon. The SPC estimates approximately 3 million residents will be affected by extremely critical fire weather conditions with about 4.7 million affected by critical fire weather conditions.
Fire Weather Outlook today. Pink – Extremely Criitical risk; Red – Critical risk; Orange – Elevated risk. Source: NOAA/SPC
This report was compiled with integrated information from the public agencies listed below. Regional conditions can vary depending on local weather conditions. Interested parties can monitor the sites below for updates and developments, and statements from these sites supersede this update.