Sunday, May 30, 2010

'Vista' Fire in La Cresta

Around 3pm yesterday afternoon, Elaine, Dan, Gil and I were sitting under the portico at the front entry enjoying some beverages when we noticed a rather large orange-colored plane circling around, followed by a smaller white plane flying at a quick clip and low altitude right over our roof. Gil quickly ran to the back of the house to see where the plane was going, and all of a sudden we heard him yelling "there's a fire, there's a fire!" Well, of course we didn't quite believe him, as Gil is occasionally prone to hyperbolic, intentional exaggeration. But, holy moly, was he right this time! From the back patio we could see flames & smoke erupting from a property about 2-3 miles down the hill. The planes were apparently air tankers deployed to drop fire retardant on the fire. In addition, there was a water-dropping helicopter and crews from Riverside County Fire, Cal Fire San Diego, and the U.S. Forest Service on hand to put down the flames. It was pretty dramatic watching the aerial attacks. After about 45 minutes it appeared that they had this thing more or less under control.

5/30/10 'Vista' Fire, at Paseo de Flores & Avenida La Cresta.

According the The Californian this morning, although the fire appeared to be very close to several homes, no structures were damaged. Riverside County Fire's online incident report dubbed this the "Vista' fire. Approximately 10 acres burned near the intersection of Avenida La Cresta, Paseo de Flores and Valle Vista. The cause is still under investigation. Hope it was not arson or someone mowing dry brush on a hot, breezy day.

The last time we had a fire this close by was the Bear Creek fire back in September 2009. That was when they closed Clinton Keith Road, which is the only access into the Plateau, and Gilbert (who was at work when it happened) had to use an off road track to make his way home.

Wasn't as scary this time around, but maybe that's because there were four of us hanging out with a pleasant champagne/beer buzz going on, which makes everything seem so much less dire. Well, fire season, here we go again...


Air tanker dropping fire retardant. 








Water-dropping helicopter.





8 comments:

  1. That was as close as you would want! Fires can start ever so easy - especially in your arid conditions.

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  2. Yes, Rosie - that's about as close as I want any fire to be. Rumor has it that some "lawn equipment" was possibly to blame, which sounds like the cause of our last proximate wildfire (tractor mower mowing dry grass in 100F heat). If so, then someone must have thrown common sense out the window...

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  3. Oh my, I hate the start to fire season. That's definitely close enough for anyone's comfort. Glad that there was no significant damage reported. The last couple of years, every time I hear a helicopter or low flying aircraft, I almost leap out of my skin. We're in a deep canyon here, so if we see any smoke over the rise, we have no frame of reference to tell how near or far it is. I do hope this fire season is less severe than it's been in recent years, for all of us.

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  4. Clare, I can totally relate. Living in the wildland-urban interface, you just have to be constantly in tune with and reactive to any sight, sound or smell that portends fire. Likewise, I hope this fire season proves to be less fervent than what we've experienced in the past couple years. Stay safe.

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  5. Whew that was a close one. The one cluster of fan palms really looks like a fire magnate. Can it be fire season so soon? Weren't you just posting on showers and hail not that long ago?

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  6. James, I really don't get the fan palm thing. So many people use them in their landscapes around here, and they just look so out of place. AND, they are fire magnets indeed - a few sparks in the dry fronds, and poof! But that's just my 2 cents. I'm becoming resigned to the fact that fire season is probably seasonless.

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  7. Oh, sorry for the typo. Where did my "fire magnate" come from? It's an interesting concept, tho, a fire magnate presiding over a long seasonless fire season...

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  8. Heh heh...I like the magnate concept!

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