Start / Report Date: July 31, 2020
Cause: Human Caused
Fuels Involved: Chaparral & Brush
Size: 33,424 acres
Location: Banning Canyon
Homes destroyed: 4
Percent contained: 95%
Strategy: Full Suppression
Current Situation: The Apple Fire is calm and 95% contained 20 days after it was sparked. Working in extreme heat and steep terrain, firefighters are focused on monitoring, patrolling and suppression repair. Thunderstorms may rumble again today and crews are monitoring for possible heavy rain and mudflows. Within the Apple Fire’s perimeter, pockets of burning vegetation may generate occasional light smoke. Many firefighters, equipment and aircraft have been assigned to other wildfires in California and the west.
An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service, effective until 10 pm Thursday, August 20. Dangerously hot conditions continue throughout the region. Firefighters continue to follow COVID-19 precautions, including wearing masks, practicing social distancing, using hand sanitizers, meeting outside, washing hands, and sanitizing workspaces.
Recently burned areas are at a greater risk of mudflows and flash floods. Fires eliminate vegetation that can hold soil in place and charred ground may be unable to absorb water. Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) efforts are focused on the protection of human life, safety, and property. Rapid burn assessments identify areas that have increased potential for floods and mudflows. For more information, please visit the Apple Post-Fire BAER InciWeb page.
Incident Summary: The Apple Fire was started in Cherry Valley CA on July 31, 2020, due to a malfunctioning diesel vehicle. Due to dry vegetation and southwest winds, the wildfire quickly spread, eventually causing evacuations and reaching 33,424 acres total. At the height of the fire, over 2,800 personnel responded and assisted on the incident. Much of the northern and eastern sections of the wildfire burned on very steep, rugged wilderness mountains that were not accessible to firefighting vehicles. Firefighters earned 90% containment by August 14, and management was turned over to the San Bernardino National Forest. The Forest Service is focused on suppression, suppression repair and monitoring while continuing to work towards 100% containment. This will be the final Apple Fire written update unless there are significant new changes in fire behavior.
Safety Message: Signing up for your county emergency alert system is an easy and potentially life-saving action. These systems help public safety officials to provide critical updates, such as evacuation notifications, as quickly as possible. The alert system can help prepare and notify residents in the event of a mudflow or flood.
San Bernardino County Residents
Telephone Emergency Notification System
Riverside County Residents
It is still early in the Southern California fire season. Now is the time to prepare defensible space around your home. Defensible space is needed to slow the spread of wildfire and protect the firefighters defending homes in your neighborhood. These efforts can preserve firefighting resources, reduce the need for firefighters to move throughout the country, and minimize exposure to and transmission of COVID-19 among incident personnel and communities served. You can learn more about defensible space at the CAL FIRE website Ready for Wildfire.
Closures: The San Gorgonio Wilderness is closed to all use until further notice. The order prohibits all entry into the San Gorgonio Wilderness and some adjacent areas. Additionally, all Forest Service recreation areas in the Forest Falls area are closed. Fire restrictions have increased across the San Bernardino National Forest. Please refer to the Forest web page at https://www.fs.usda.gov/sbnf for additional details.
A portion of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail is closed to all traffic between the Cottonwood Trailhead, near the community of San Gorgonio and Forest Road 1N01 (Pipes Canyon Road).
There is a temporary flight restriction over the fire and vicinity. It is illegal to fly drones within the restricted area. Remember, “When you fly, we can’t”.