Statewide Fire Update: Southern California Engulfed with Multiple Fires

Extreme heat and drought-stricken conditions have contributed to igniting four expansive wildfires in California. Only two have at least 60 percent containment.

In less than three days, the Border Fire had already burned more than 7,500 acres and was only 5 percent contained as of June 20. Just two miles west of the community of Potrero in San Diego County, the blaze threatened 750 single residences and 50 non-residential commercial property.

Seven areas – Forest Gate, Star Ranch, Cowboy Ranch, Dog Patch, Canyon City, Golden Accord Casino and I-8 at Crestwood – are under evacuation orders. All communities of Potrero and parts of Campo are also being evacuated.

The Mountain Empire School District closed through at least June 21, while the American Red Cross moved its shelter location to the Los Coaches Creek Middle School.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) assigned 15 engines, one water tender and three strike teams, in addition to 46 local government engines and three water tenders.

In the Los Padres National Forest of Santa Barbara County, the Sherpa Fire is nearing 8,000 acres burned and threatened approximately 270 structures. The Water Treatment Facility for El Capitan Ranch and State Park was destroyed.

The fire is 70 percent contained.

Resources assigned to the fire include five Cal OES engines and two water tenders, as well as one support unit. Thirty-two local government engines and four water tenders are also battling the blaze, which began June 15.

The Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has issued an air quality warning for Southern Santa Barbara County due to smoke impacts, and mandatory evacuations were ordered on June 17 for Refugio Canyon, Refugio State Beach, Venadito Canyon, El Capitan Ranch, El Capitan State Beach, El Capitan Canyon and Las Flores Canyon.

Two shelters were opened and four others were on standby.

The fast-moving Fish Fire quickly ravaged 3,000-plus acres in Duarte of Los Angeles County. The fire, which is zero percent contained, is rapidly spreading and burning north and west in dry grass and brush.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the Rainbow Ranch area, along with North Duarte and East Bradbury. At least 1,200 residents have been evacuated. The Duarte Community Center has been converted into an evacuation shelter by the American Red Cross.

The Fish Fire and Reservoir Fire, which started after a fatal car crash on Highway 39, have combined to burn 5,400 acres in the San Gabriel Mountains. The two fires are now being referred to as the San Gabriel Complex Fire.

Although more than 770 homes have been evacuated due to the fires, no structures have been damaged.

The Pony Fire in Siskiyou County had consumed 2,855 acres in the Klamath National Forest, but was 60 percent contained as of June 20. Five single residences were threatened as steep terrain and extremely difficult access to the area allowed the fire to remain active in brush and timber.

Follow Cal OES on Twitter and Facebook for updated fire information. Here is the latest statewide fire map, as provided by Cal Fire and Cal OES.

Find additional information on the Cal OES Fire and Rescue Division here.

Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) 2017 wildfires, and statewide wildfire siege in 2018 . Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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