07 July 2011

Carbon Canyon Fire North of Olinda Ranch

A view of the fire north of Carbon Canyon near Olinda Ranch taken from Sleepy Hollow at 4:45 p.m., 7 July.
At around 10:30 this morning, a grass fire broke out in the vicinity of Olinda Ranch in Brea and has caused a closure of Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) at Valencia Avenue on the Orange County side and in Sleepy Hollow on the Chino Hills side. 

One report from the Orange County Register quoted someone in the area as saying the fire started along the highway and spread northward into the hills.  The paper also stated that, while firefighters initially thought they had the fire under control somewhat quickly, the blaze reignited and headed north and east toward Olinda Village. 

This view was taken from a ridge on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road looking northwest from the Orange/San Bernardino County line.  Courtesy of Jim Powderly, Chino Valley Fire District.

New Brea fire chief Wolfgang Knabe has been quoted as saying that there is a contingency to evacuate residents there, if needed, but that, in any case, he expected crews to be there through the night.  Fixed-wing aircraft, moreover, have been deployed to drop material on the fire.

Fortunately, while temperature are in the upper 90s, there is humidity and low winds, which aid in the effort to combat the flames.
As for the road closure, this means that, while residents of Sleepy Hollow east can access their homes, those living in Olinda Village, Hollydale Mobile Home Estates and, perhaps, Olinda Ranch or parts of it, will not be able to reach their houses at this point.

Here is a dramatic view of a fixed-wing aircraft dumping Foscheck, a fire-fighting chemical, on the blaze.  Courtesy of George Ullrich of Olinda Village.

Click here for a NBC-LA web article and here for an Orange County Register Web page.

We'll see if more news is available as the afternoon progresses.

Meantime, for info on the Orange County side, call: 714-990-7732.

UPDATE (7:30 P.M.):  The City of Chino Hills sent an update an hour ago that Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) is expected to be closed overnight and that updates will be provided as early as 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.  Evidently, this applies to through traffic in both directions.  Travelers east have been stopped at Valencia Avenue, while those going west can go through as far as Olinda Village before being halted.

Another view of aircraft responding to the fire and within Chino Hills State Park, as pointed out by Hills for Everyone Executive Director Claire Schlotterbeck, who provided this photograph.

Meantime, the fire has evidently scorched over 400 acres, including portions of the rarely-visited sections of Chino Hills State Park that are north of Carbon Canyon Road, and had been moving northeast into Los Angeles County.  The blaze is said to be more than 75% contained.  Notably, the fire was said to have been under control late morning/early afternoon, but then jumped fire lines and leapt out of control after 2 p.m., at which time the acreage burned had only been about 25.  Eventually, 250 firefighters, three helicopters and two aircraft were on scene and responding.  By 7 p.m. the force was down to half the fire personnel and one helicopter.  Expected winds did not materialize, which certainly has helped the effort.  In fact, fire officials hope to contain (not necessarily fully extinguish) the fire by late tonight or early tomorrow morning.  Fortunately, no damage or injuries have been reported and there have been no evacuations.

Here is an updated Orange County Register article link.

Thanks to everyone who has shared information and photographs of this fire as the event has developed over the day. 

If anything, the aftermath of the disaster of November 2008 has led to improved communication and, hopefully, response to fires within the Canyon and highlights the importance of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan and Carbon Creek Egress Corridor Fuel Reduction Project [a.k.a., the cleanup of Carbon Creek of overgrown and fire-prone plant materials that also are diverting the creek and threatening the stability of Carbon Canyon Road]. 

Both of these projects have been developed by the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council, which had its monthly meeting last night to discuss the status of these ongoing efforts to improve fire safety in Carbon Canyon.


Anonymous said...

We live in Sleepy Hollow and Carbon Canyon Rd is open all the way to Olinda. Residents of Olinda should be able to get home from the Chino Hills side.

prs said...

Thanks Anonymous, when I came into Sleepy Hollow at around 2:15, the message board said the road was only open to CH residents coming west. If this has changed, great. Anyone wanting updated info as the afternoon goes along should call the 714-990-7732 number.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all of the information you post. It is much appreciated.

prs said...

Hi anonymous, sure, am happy to do what can be done to get the word out. Looks like Carbon Canyon Rd. remains closed "through the morning commute", according to the Brea hot line.