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Apple Fire Likely Started By Tailpipe Exhaust; 12 Structures Destroyed

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File: Flames and heavy smoke approach on a western front of the Apple Fire on Aug. 1. (David McNew/David McNew)
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The Apple Fire in Riverside County's Banning Canyon has destroyed 12 structures, but is now burning into a wilderness area.

The fire started Friday and by Tuesday midday had burned 26,850 acres and was 15% contained. Evacuation orders and warnings were still in place for some areas of both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, though some residents in Riverside County were being allowed to return home Tuesday night.

Lisa Cox with the San Bernardino National Forest explains where the fire is burning:

"The terrain is going to be extremely steep and rugged in the San Gorgonio wilderness area, but the vegetation is going to become more sparse due to that. So it's going to kind of move into the timber. There could be some torching behavior, so that could create some spotting up to 400 feet ahead of the line."

Cox says a slight lowering of temperatures and an uptick in humidity today will help firefighters.
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Fire investigators believe the fire was sparked by a diesel vehicle emitting combustibles from its exhaust pipe, igniting three separate fires that eventually combined into one.

One firefighter has suffered minor injuries.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, firefighters have had to take precautions by limiting face-to-face interactions only to what is necessary for operations, officials said.

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 26,850
  • Containment: 15%
  • Damages: 12 structures destroyed
  • Injuries: 1 firefighter
  • Cause: Human caused
  • Resources deployed:
    • Hand Crews: 31
    • Engines: 321
    • Dozers: 28
    • Helicopters: 12
    • Fixed wing: 2
    • Water Tenders: 50
    • Total Personnel: 2,565

EVACUATIONS

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  • San Bernardino County:
    • Orders: Oak Glen
    • Warnings: Forest Falls, Pioneertown, Rim Rock
  • Riverside County: Evacuation orders have been lifted for some areas, including areas east of Oak Glen Road, areas west of Potrero Road and north of Wilson Street. Enter your address in this interactive map to see if you're in an evacuation zone.
  • Evacuation Center:
    • Beaumont High School: 39139 Cherry Valley Boulevard in Beaumont (people and animals)

ROAD CLOSURES

At the following intersections:

  • High & Cherry, High & Jonathan, High & Winsap, Orchard & Avenida San Timateo, Orchard & Avenida Miravilla, Orchard & Oak Glen, Cherry Valley Blvd. & Bellflower Ave., Sunset & Wilson, and Bluff & Mias Canyon

OTHER CLOSURES

  • San Gorgonio Wilderness, including Pacific Crest Hiking Trail between the forest boundary and Forest Road 1N01
  • All USFS recreation areas in Forest Fall

This story was originally published at 4 p.m. and has been updated to indicate that some evacuation orders have been lifted.

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