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El Dorado Fire

Unit Information

San Bernardino National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
602 S. Tippecanoe Ave.
San Bernardino, CA 92408

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Incident Contact

El Dorado Fire Information
Email: lisa_cox@firenet.gov
Phone: 909-383-5688

Smoke from the El Dorado Fire in distance seen from Highway 38Image options: [ Full Size ]

Extreme hot and dry conditions will continue this week. Interior burning on the El Dorado Fire will continue for several weeks as the fire continues to burn in the steep and inaccessible portions of the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Forest roads and hiking trails within the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area remain closed. Please check the San Bernardino National Forest websitefor forest roads and trails information.

Tuesday September 29, Caltrans reopened Highway 38 to all traffic. Please be advised that there will be delays in traffic due to firefighters and aircraft continuing work in the area. Please drive with care and at slower speeds to help ensure firefighter safety. Firefighters expect these delays in traffic to continue for several days or more. Please check https://roads.dot.ca.gov/ for updated highway conditions.

Evacuation warnings remain in place for the communities of Mountain Home Village, Forest Falls, Angelus Oaks, Seven Oaks, and Barton Flats. These communities are open to residents only until further notice.
  

The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announced that current closure orders and fire prohibitions in California have been extended. This decision will be evaluated daily, taking fire and weather conditions into account. The closure order prevents any entry onto Forest Service Lands except in limited situations. This order does not prevent use of state highways to access mountain communities.  The fire prohibition includes building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove. https://www.fs.usda.gov/R5 

Residents and visitors in the fire area should be aware that recently burned areas are at a greater risk of mudflows and flash floods. Fires eliminate vegetation that hold soil and rocks in place and charred ground may be unable to absorb water. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Teams and CAL FIRE Watershed Emergency Response Team (WERT) efforts are focused on the protection of human life, safety, and property. Rapid burn assessments identify areas that have increased potential for floods and mudflow, enabling county, state, and federal emergency managers to better plan their responses to future rain events. For more information, please visit the El Dorado Post-Fire BAER InciWeb page.

Residents in the mountain and foothill areas should stay informed of weather forecasts.  Register your cell phones with the Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS) / Swift 911 and have an emergency plan.  Visit www.sbcounty.gov for more emergency preparedness information.   

The El Dorado Fire began on September 5th in El Dorado Park near Yucaipa, CA. Temperatures recorded the day the fire started were 15 to 20 degrees above normal, and in many cases broke new record high temperatures.  Over a 23-day period, the fire burned 22,680 acres in the Oak Glen / Yucaipa Ridge area and within the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area of the San Bernardino National Forest. The fire forced the evacuations of Oak Glen, north Yucaipa, Mountain Home Village, Forest Falls, and Angelus Oaks communities. The fire required 60 miles of fireline and ranged from a minimum elevation of 3030’ to a maximum of 10,640’. There were 4 residences damaged, 5 residences destroyed along with 15 other structures destroyed. 

The incident command post was established at Yucaipa Regional Park, Yucaipa, CA, and two interagency incident management teams rotated through the incident: California Interagency Management Team 11 (Incident Commander Chris Fogle), and California Interagency Management Team 13 (Incident Commander Mike Wakoski).   

At the peak, there were 1,351 personnel assigned to the fire including 17 hand crews, 177 engines, 20 water tenders, 17 dozers, and 10 helicopters.  Numerous Fixed Wing Tankers including a DC-10 assisted with aerial fire-retardant drops. Three Canadian Fire Bosses and a Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) Water Scooper were also used for the first time in Southern California and were based out of Big Bear Airport & Lake. 

This fire resulted in one firefighter fatality, Charlie Morton, a 14-year veteran firefighter with the San Bernardino National Forest, as well as thirteen injuries. The memorial service for fallen USDA Forest Service firefighter Charles Edward Morton was held on Friday, September 25, 2020, at 11 a.m. in San Bernardino, CA. 

Nearly 3,000 phone calls were placed by affected residents to the San Bernardino National Forest’s Fire Information Center, (909-383-5688), and nearly one million pageviews on https://Inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7148/ Two community meeting were held in Forest Falls and in Angelus Oak as the respective communities were repopulated. Two additional Facebook Live events were held to answer questions regarding the fire.   

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
CauseHuman Caused
Date of OriginSaturday September 05th, 2020 approx. 10:30 AM
LocationCity of Yucaipa, Oak Glen, Mountain Home Village, Forest Falls, Angelus Oaks
Incident CommanderReno Renteria, U.S. Forest Service
Coordinates34.053 latitude, -116.992 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel223
Size22,744 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained93%
Estimated Containment DateThursday December 31st, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Timber (Litter and Understory)

Chaparral (6 feet)

Brush (2 feet)

Fuels that remain inside the fire perimeter continue to consume due to lower humidities and peak seasonal fuel dryness. This was particularly so with today's near single digit humidity readings.

Significant Events

Moderate

Creeping

Backing

Interior torching.

Outlook

Projected Incident Activity

A slight probability of fire spread remains if rollout ignites vegetation outside the perimeter.

The very hot temperatures and low relative humidity values means that any fire that starts outside control lines will burn robustly.

However, the probability of fire spread is decreasing as fuels consume and resources continue to strengthen holding lines.

Remarks

Evacuation warnings are still in place for the communities of Mountain Home Village, Forest Falls, Angelus Oaks, Seven Oaks, and Barton Flats. These communities are open to residents only, until further notice.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Outlook - Wednesday through Friday: Hot and dry conditions are expected.

Temperatures will top out between 92 and 102 degrees at 3,000 feet and 83 to 92 degrees at 6,000 feet.

Minimum relative humidity values will be in the 9 to 16 percent range at 3,000 feet and 11 to 18 percent range at 6,000 feet.

Winds will be west to northwest at 5 to 10 mph, gusting to around 22 mph in the afternoon Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, expect southwest to west winds at 5 to 10 mph with gusts to around 20 mph.