The Sheep Fire that broke out over the weekend in the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood had devoured an estimated 990 acres by Monday afternoon as firefighters reached additional containment on the blaze after attacking it in the ground and from the air.
Around noon Monday, fire numbers stood at 939 acres and 5% containment, but that was updated by the US Forest Service in the afternoon to around 990 acres and 18% containment. At 9:20 p.m., the containment had increased to 27%, the firefighters announced.
The updated area is due to recent infrared mapping capabilities, Angeles National Forest officials said.
About 300 people were evacuated near the fire area on Sunday, said Dana Dierkes, spokeswoman for the Angeles National Forest.
San Bernardino County Fire Department officials said in their afternoon update that weather so far had been “favorable” Monday in terms of high temperatures and winds. The area around the fire reached a high temperature of 76 degrees and wind gusts between 20 and 25 mph throughout the day Monday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Gregoria.
However, Gregorio said an increase in wind rotation was expected from around 10 p.m. Monday, which brought a level of “concern”. Winds have so far been blowing from the west, but the change is expected to bring dry desert air from the north, possibly driving the fire in a different direction, Gregorio said.
“Relative humidity will drop; it’s not good for the fire,” Gregorio said.
Maximum wind gusts were expected to be around 25 mph around 10 p.m., the meteorologist said.
The NWS put in place a wind advisory for nearby mountains in San Bernardino County at 6 p.m. Monday and it is expected to remain in place until 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 14, the weather service said in its weekly weather briefing. Wind gusts between 20 and 30 mph were expected, with occasional gusts of up to 50 mph, the NWS said.
High fire weather conditions are expected to persist each afternoon throughout the week in the desert and mountain slopes adjacent to the desert, the weather service said.
The Sheep Fire, which started Saturday evening near the Sheep Creek area of the forest, is burning in the forest and on private land. On Saturday evening, the fire burned 35 acres. On a hot and windy Sunday, the fire spread to more than 900 acres.
RELATED: Map Shows Sheep Fire Evacuations and Their Locations in the San Gabriel Mountains
Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the fire. No structures were damaged, Dierkes said.
Fighting the fire was particularly difficult due to dense vegetation, steep terrain and strong, erratic winds, she said.
Highway 2, Angeles Crest Highway, was closed from Highway 138 to Wright Mountain Road near Wrightwood, according to Caltrans maps.
Cal Fire planned to take an updated measurement of the fire’s area Monday evening by flying an aircraft around the perimeter of the fire with GPS-like equipment, said Allison Hesterly, a Cal Fire spokeswoman. Hesterly said she did not expect a significant change in the size of the fire on Monday afternoon.
Evacuation orders remain in place for Desert Front Road and Wild Horse Canyon and in the Wrightwood area from Highway 2 south to Lone Pine Canyon Road as well as Wright Mountain Road to Sheep Creek Drive, according to Mara Rodriguez, spokeswoman for San Bernardino County. Sheriff’s Department. The rest of Wrightwood is still under an evacuation warning, she added.
Serrano High School at 9292 Sheep Creek Road in Phelan was set up as an evacuation center, Rodriguez said.
The Devore Animal Shelter at 19777 Shelter Way accommodated small animals while the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds at 14800 7th Street in Victorville will be available for large animals and livestock, she said.
Before heading to either location, authorities asked evacuees to call the San Bernardino County Animal Control and Care Department ahead of time at 1-800-472-5609.
On Monday afternoon, a smoke advisory was issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District for the foothills and mountainous areas of San Bernardino County adjacent to the San Gabriel Mountains and area of Sheep fire. Smoky conditions were visible from foothill communities such as Rancho Cucamonga and Upland.
Information in Spanish: https://t.co/ctPFfWWfN8
South Coast AQMD issues notice of humo por el incendio forestral cerca de Wrightwood pic.twitter.com/DwG8POXUZb
— South Coast AQMD (@SouthCoastAQMD) June 13, 2022