Apple Fire

Apple Fire Threat Subsides, Another Evacuation Order Terminated

An evacuation order for the Oak Glen area has been lifted as efforts to extinguish the Apple Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest remain underway.

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The 29,267-acre Apple Fire burning along slopes in the San Bernardino National Forest Friday remained an outlying threat to several communities east of the blaze, while others were declared safe, with evacuation orders lifted.

Shortly before noon, the U.S. Forest Service canceled an order that had been in place for the Oak Glen area just north of the boundary separating San Bernardino and Riverside counties, including Potato Canyon and Pine Bench. That was the last of the mandatory evacuation directives.

In San Bernardino County, non-mandatory evacuation warnings remain for Forest Falls, Morongo Valley, Rimrock and Pioneertown, according to the USFS.

Pictures: Apple Fire in Southern California Explodes to 20,000 Acres

The Whitewater Canyon community north of Interstate 10 and west of Highway 62 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties was added to the voluntary evacuation warning list Thursday.

A community meeting is planned at 6 p.m. for the Morongo and Yucca Valley communities to update residents on efforts to extinguish the brusher, which began a week ago and is now 30% contained. The meeting will be held in Morongo Valley at the Covington Park Community Center, 11165 Vale Drive.

"Good progress has been made on Yucaipa Ridge, as well reducing the
threat to Forest Falls,'' according to a USFS statement. "As threats are reduced and the containment line has been completed, firefighting resources will shift to areas of greater threat as needed."

Four homes have been destroyed by the flames, along with eight outbuildings. One of the homes and two of the storage sheds were located near Avenida Miravilla in Cherry Valley, according to Cal Fire.

The Apple Fire began about 5 p.m. last Friday near Apple Tree Lane and Oak Glen Road, and was sparked by burning exhaust from a diesel-fueled vehicle, officials said.

A firefighter sustained a head injury when he was struck by a falling tree branch on Thursday. The crewman was aided by medics at the location but required further attention and was taken to a staging area, where he was reportedly picked up by an ambulance. No other details were available, including his identity or condition.

Another firefighter suffered unspecified minor injuries earlier this week. The fire is extending on a northeast track at roughly mile-high elevations. Officials believe the blaze may be fully contained as soon as Aug. 17.

An estimated 2,600 residences and 7,800 people were evacuated at the height of the fire. All evacuation orders in Riverside County have since been lifted.

The head of the fire is on a mountainside in San Bernardino County, where the vast majority of the 2,600 firefighters assigned to the fire are working. A total of 20 aircraft -- 18 water-dropping helicopters and two air tankers -- have been rotating in and out of the fire zone, helping lay down tentative containment boundaries.

Along with county fire crews, personnel from the Calimesa, Morongo, Murrieta, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Huntington Beach, Hemet, Pechanga, San Bernardino, Soboba, Los Angeles and Los Angeles County fire departments were sent to assist under a mutual aid request.

Residents with questions or concerns about the fire can call 909-383-5688.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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