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BUTLER #2 Fire Archives & Updates


For detailed information on the Butler #2 Fire, including maps and photos, please scroll down.


September 12, 2008

This Weekend Marks One-Year Anniversary of Butler #2 Fire; Forest Rehabilitation Efforts Still Underway

This weekend, specifically September 14, marks the one-year anniversary of the Butler #2 Fire, which ultimately burned 14,039 acres and resulted in five days of mandatory evacuation for residents of Fawnskin. Despite this, and the fact that the Butler #2 Fire was at that time billed the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation, no homes were lost in the fire, though it did result in closures on the San Bernardino National Forest. Efforts of rehabilitation crews with the U.S. Forest Service have resulted in the recent re-opening of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Gray's Peak Trail, though some closures remain intact. John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR, “Since the fire, crews have been working non-stop. We have to make the facilities, roads and trails safe for the public, and keeping some of these closed is part of the recovery process for the forest.” Remaining closures resulting from the Butler #2 Fire include Hanna Flat Campground, Forest Service road 3N14 (from Fawnskin to Big Pine Flat), Butler Peak (closed to visitors but still in use as a fire lookout), and Forest Service road 2N13, or the Snowslide Road (which was the original Rim of the World Highway until the 1920s, until being replaced with Highway 18's Arctic Circle). As of this Wednesday, September 10, the San Bernardino National Forest released the Environmental Assessment for the Butler #2/Slide Post-Fire Fuels Reduction Project, to which objections may be filed through October 11, 2008. Details on the Post-Fire Fuels Reduction Project: fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/projects/butlerslide.shtml. Link to the letter outlining objection specifics: fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/documents/butler2_slide_fs_correspondence_objection_letter_090908.pdf.

June 6, 2008




Forest Service Recreational Areas Within Burn Area of Butler #2 and Slide Fires Slated for Rehabilitation
Last fall's Butler #2 and Slide Fires resulted in substantial damage to recreational facilities within the San Bernardino National Forest, and the Forest Service is making plans to repair these facilities and trails, starting this summer. Some of those items on the repair list include the replacement of restrooms at Hanna Flat Campground, new bathrooms and picnic tables at Gray's Peak Group Camp, repairs to the water system at Little Bear Springs PCT Campsite, replacement of picnic tables at five Yellow Post campsites, and the repair of trails in the vicinity of Gray's Peak, Green Valley, Hanna Flat and the Pacific Crest Trail. Paul Bennett, Recreation Officer for the San Bernardino National Forest, tells KBHR, “Design is underway and contracting for the rebuilding of facilities that were destroyed or partially burned in the fires. We've received about one million dollars to complete this work, and our hope is to have it done this summer so facilities can be reopened for public use next summer.” The money has been directed to the Mountaintop Ranger District from the U.S. Forest Service's regional office in Vallejo, California and is taxpayer's money, Bennett says. As the Pacific Crest Trail is widely used, especially this time of year as PCT hikers make their way through our Valley, Bennett adds, “We have crews currently working to remove trees from the Pacific Crest Trail and Gray's Peak Trail. We hope to have Gray's Peak Trail open in time for this Fourth of July.” In the meantime, the U.S. Forest Service offers National Trails Day tomorrow, June 7, which is a free day in the forest. No Adventure Pass will be required tomorrow, or on National Public Lands Day on September 27 or Veterans Day on November 11. (For more on the Pacific Crest Trail, see our story on May 2 -- posted on the 2008 Archive page.)

May 12, 2008



This portion of Butler #2 Fire burn area, in the vicinity of Hanna Flat Campground just beyond
Fawnskin, is within the 26,000 acres that the San Bernardino National Forest will address in
Fall 2008, as part of their fuels reduction project for forest burned in the Butler #2 and Slide Fires.

April 23, 2008


Forest Service Seeks Public Input on Fuels Reduction Project for Burn Areas of Butler #2 and Slide Fires

On Monday evening at the Discovery Center, the San Bernardino National Forest hosted the first of two community meetings to discuss their proposed fuels reduction project for the over 26,000 acres of burn area of September's Butler #2 Fire and October's Slide Fire. At present, the Forest Service is considering all potential fuels removal options, including prescribed fire and mechanical thinning, and yet will maintain efforts to minimize the impact to the soil, water, botany and wildlife, while tree planting is also planned. In portions of the burned areas, there are hundreds of standing dead trees which, when they fall over in the course of the next decade, per the Forest Service, pose a wildfire threat as this will create a heavy fuel bed of dry, dead, fallen trees. The entire project will be located north of Highway 18, from Running Springs to Fawnskin, in and directly adjacent to the Butler #2 Fire and Slide Fire boundaries. One of the proposed treatments will be intensive fuels reduction and removal within 300 feet of communities, road edges and existing fire lines. Public input is welcome on the proposed fuels reduction project through May 7. A decision on the project is anticipated to be made by September's end, so that implementation can begin as soon as late Fall 2008. The second of two community meetings will be held in Running Springs at 5pm this evening at the Hootman Senior Center, at 2929 Running Springs School Road. Information on the Forest Service's proposed fuels reduction project is also available online at fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/projects/bulterslide.shtml.

December 14, 2007


KBHR Exclusive: The Butler #2 Fire Was The Result of The Original Butler Fire

We've been asking questions for months and, today, we have our answer on the Butler #2 Fire, which started three months ago today on September 14 and burned 14,039 acres in areas west and north of the community of Fawnskin. The U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR that the Butler #2 Fire, which was labeled the number one priority wildland fire in the nation, was indeed the result of the original Butler Fire, which began on Labor Day weekend. In a statement from John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service, he tells KBHR, “We have performed an exhaustive law enforcement investigation to determine the cause, and a follow-up administrative review of actions and activities on the original Butler Fire, to ensure policies and practices were appropriate to the situation. The law enforcement investigation determined that the source of ignition of the Butler #2 Fire was the original fire. Unexpected high winds on September 13 and 14 fanned an undetected hot spot into flames and pushed the fire across the fire line.” Miller adds that, with regard to the original Butler Fire, which burned 85 acres after being sparked by lightning, “We examined the incident action plan, the mop-up standards, rehabilitation standards and transition planning, and concluded that directives and standards met the prudent person test.” For more background information on the Butler #2 Fire, which cost an estimated $13 to 15 million in fire suppression efforts, please scroll down on this page.

December 7, 2007


Crews on Scene in Burn Areas to Ready for Flooding, and Respond If Needed

The Burned Area Emergency Response Team of the San Bernardino National Forest and the County of San Bernardino's Public Works Department and Flood Control District have been readying for the storm. In recent days, crews have been installing sandbag diversions, cleaning storm drains of debris, and installing temporary concrete barriers to protect roads and homes within the 40 square miles of burn area resulting from the Slide, Grass Valley and Butler #2 Fires. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR that given the aforementioned teams and crews from CalTrans, “There are roughly 100 personnel assigned to this weather event in the San Bernardino mountains, so in case there is severe flooding, this work force will be there to respond to the incident. Crews will be on patrol during the storms, while also checking and cleaning drains, and will also be able to respond immediately.” San Bernardino National Forest Fire Chief Mike Dietrich assures, “Protecting lives and property during this storm event is our top priority.”

December 5, 2007

Fawnskin Meeting on Flooding Issues; Flood Insurance Available Through Federal Government

As a precautionary measure, the County of San Bernardino Office of Emergency Services has issued some Flood Evacuation Dos and Don'ts. Here are some suggestions of what to do in the case of a flood evacuation: Do drive calmly with your headlights on, Do obey law enforcement if told to evacuate, Do keep your gas tank at least half full, Do lock your home and leave a note telling others when you left and where you're going. Now here is what not to do in the case of flooding: Don't use off-road shortcuts, Don't attempt to drive across creeks or flooded roads as just a foot of water can float many vehicles, Don't walk through moving water or allow children to play near it, and Don't stop to collect your belongings if officials indicate you should leave immediately. If you're concerned about flooding to your home or business, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services and FEMA note that only flood insurance protects against flood loss, and policies are available from the National Flood Insurance Program, which you can access at www.floodsmart.gov. (Please note that there is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance coverage to begin. California property owners pay an average annual premium of $628 for NFIP insurance for $231,000 of flood insurance coverage.) Details on the potential flood threat to Fawnskin, given the Butler #2 burn areas, will be presented at this evening's community meeting at the Discovery Center, to be hosted by County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger and the San Bernardino County Department of Public Works and Flood Control District. This community meeting begins at 6:30pm.

December 4, 2007

Despite Precipitation, Root Fires Continue to Burn in Areas of Slide and Grass Valley Fires

Though we did receive measurable precipitation in the form of rain on Friday and snow on Saturday, this was not enough to completely extinguish the root fires that continue to smolder in the burn areas of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. According to John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service, “We received an average of two inches of precipitation across the San Bernardino mountains, which gave us a soil penetration of four to six inches. To put that in perspective, we're having to dig down six feet on some root fires, because they're still burning.” Miller notes that on the roughly 40 square miles of burn area, including Butler #2, it will still take a substantial snowfall, or a series of rainstorms, so that the precipitation will penetrate deep into the soil. As for the cause of the fires—the Butler #2 which began on September 14 and the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, which began on October 22—Miller says the U.S. Forest Service has not yet released that information. But, he tells KBHR, “Investigators have a general sense of the point of origin for each of these three fires, but to release that information could possibly compromise the investigation.”

November 29, 2007

Supervisor Hansberger to Address Fawnskin Flooding Issues in December 5 Meeting at the DC

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Works and Flood Control District, along with County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, will hold a community meeting for Fawnskin residents on Wednesday, December 5 at 6:30pm. The purpose of the meeting, to be held at the Discovery Center, will be to discuss flooding issues resulting from September's Butler #2 Fire. Fawnskin and other communities below the burn area are susceptible to flash flooding, debris flow and mudslides, and county staff will outline the preventative actions taken to date, as well as report on alternatives for potential future protective measures. Information on the post-fire flood risk is available on the County's website at www.sbcounty.gov/floodinfo.

November 14, 2007


Two Months Later, Cause of Butler #2 Fire Remains Under Investigation

Today is the two-month anniversary of the Butler #2 Fire, which began on September 14 and burned 14,039 acres in areas west and north of the community of Fawnskin. At the time, the Butler #2 Fire was labeled the number one priority wildfire incident in the nation, and, to date, cost for fire suppression efforts remains at an estimated $13 to 15 million, which will be paid for by the National Fire Fund. The cause of the Butler #2 Fire has not yet been released and, in a conversation with John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service today, he says, “All three fires are currently under investigation by the U.S. Forest Service.” The other fires being referenced are the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, both of which started on October 22. Crews continue mop up and rehabilitation efforts on the burn areas of these fires, as well as on Butler #2.

October 30, 2007


Butler #2 Fire Provides a Buffer as Slide and Grass Valley Fires Burn to the West of Big Bear

When we spoke with Chon Bribiescas of the U.S. Forest Service today, who also happens to be a Big Bear resident, he did note that the Slide Fire (which has burned in the vicinity of Green Valley Lake) did reach the Butler #2 Fire. “It bumped right into it, right up to the black,” he says, “which was a good thing, because the fire ran out of fuel.” The Butler #2 Fire is still being patrolled and though the cause of the blaze, which began on September 14 and burned 14,039 acres, is still being investigated, Bribiescas tells us that, eventually, there will be an answer--though personnel are presently focusing their resources on the current situation of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires.

October 17, 2007


75 Firefighting Personnel Still at Work on Fire Suppression and Mop Up of Butler #2 Fire

Firefighting personnel continue with their fire suppression efforts on the now month-and-three-days old Butler #2 Fire. San Bernardino National Forest Battalion Chief Steve Seltzner, who's overseeing Incident Command at the Big Bear Discovery Center, tells KBHR that 75 firefighting personnel remain on scene, and busy with intense work within the 14,039 acre burn zone. In addition to 2 to 4 engine crews on mop-up work, personnel include the Big Bear Hot Shots, Vista Grande Hot Shots from the San Jacinto Ranger District, and the Mojave Greens, a Type 2 team from Victor Valley Community College, which is stationed in Big Bear year round. Seltzner reports that there are still hot spots within the fire's perimeter, despite some rain over the weekend. “It certainly helped,” he says of the 1/10 to 2/10" of rain, “but it wasn't adequate enough to be all consuming. You can't let it fool you that it penetrated areas of heat, but we're very thankful for it. What we need the public to know is that there still may be smoke, until we get some measurable precipitation.” Battalion Chief Seltzner, whose work with the Forest Service has him primarily in the Big Bear area year round, adds, “It's been a long summer. We need some snow.”

October 12, 2007


Nearly a Month Later, Fire Suppression Efforts Continue on Butler #2 Fire

It's been nearly a month since the Butler #2 Fire began, back on September 14, and yet the cause of the blaze still remains under investigation. Incident Command is now stationed at the Big Bear Discovery Center, and is under the leadership of San Bernardino National Forest Battalion Chief Steve Seltzner, who had been the Incident Commander on the original Butler Fire over Labor Day weekend. Seltzner, who tells us that Big Bear is his primary area year round, says that over 100 fire personnel remain at work on fire suppression efforts on the Butler #2 Fire—those crews include two Forest Service hot shot crews, one Type 2 fire crew, one helitanker capable of water drops of 2,000 gallons, a Type 2 helicopter stationed at Heaps Peak, and, two to four Forest Service engines. Seltzner tells KBHR, “We are still actively involved in fire suppression efforts, and we still have a substantial commitment.” This week, infrared flyovers have continued, as aircraft continue to seek out hot spots within the fire's perimeter, though those hot spots are now several hundred feet with the perimeter of the 14,039 acre blaze. Seltzner further explains, “There are real extreme drought conditions, and the impact it's having on vegetation is substantial. It is so dry, we're having fires in root systems. The helicopter with infrared capabilities we've used extensively, but it doesn't always show the hot spots. We know we can't let our guard down, because there are hot spots we don't know about. We have large trees that are still burning because it is so dry out there.” That said, the Butler #2 Fire is not yet controlled, though it has been 100% contained since September 20. Estimated costs for fire suppression to date are now in the $13-15 million range, though costs will increase as information continues to come in from independent contractors who assisted in fire suppression efforts.

Highway 18 Is Scheduled to Remain Open, per CalTrans

Due to slope damage resulting from the Butler #2 Fire, particularly in the Arctic Circle area of Highway 18, CalTrans had applied for emergency contracts to fund slope rehabilitation. However, this work has not yet been approved or scheduled. In light of this, and other, unrelated information suggesting that Highway 18 will be closed for an extended period, a CalTrans official tells KBHR that that is not the case. Terri Kasinga of CalTrans says, “Officially, we have no plans to close Highway 18 at this time. In the event of inclement weather or slide concerns, we will close it. But, right now, there are no plans to close Highway 18.”

October 11, 2007


U.S. Forest Service Lifts Some Restrictions Resulting From Butler #2 Fire
The Mountaintop Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest has updated the closures for roads and trails resulting from the Butler #2 Fire. The following Forest Service roads are closed: 3N14, from 3N12 to 3N16 at Big Pine Flat; 2N13 from Green Valley to Fawnskin; and all roads within the burn area except for 3N16. Closed trails are Grays Peak, Hanna Flat, and the Pacific Crest Trail from 2N09 to 3N16. Closed camping areas are Hanna Flat Campground, Big Pine Flat Campground, Ironwood Campground, Grays Peak Group Camp, Big Pine Flat Equestrian Camp, and all Yellow Post sites within the fire area. As of today, October 11, the following have been reopened: Horse Springs Campground at the north of the Mountaintop District; Forest road 3N14, the Coxey Truck Trail, is open to Big Pine Flat, and can be accessed from Central Road near Hesperia; 4N16 is open, and can be accessed from High Road near Lucerne Valley. Holcomb Valley Road, or 3N16, is also open, from Baldwin Lake to Green Valley Lake Road. For more information on closures, please contact the Discovery Center at 382-2790, or visit the U.S. Forest Service website at www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino.

October 8, 2007


Still Hot Spots Within Butler #2 Fire's Perimeter; 85 Personnel on Scene Today
Crews are still stationed in our area in support of rehabilitation and mop up efforts on the Butler #2 Fire. Randy Clauson, Division Chief with the Mountaintop District of the San Bernardino National Forest, tells KBHR that 85 fire personnel are still on scene today, with Incident Command headquartered at the Big Bear Discovery Center. Those crews include three hot shot crews, four engines, and two helicopters, stationed at the Big Bear Airport. Due to Friday's winds, the infrared flyover to detect hot spots within the fire's perimeter was postponed until today. Clauson says that, over the weekend, there were still some hot spots within the perimeter of Butler #2's 14,039 acres, though those hot spots were well within the interior of the burn zone. Most areas within the burn perimeter do remain closed to the public, though the Big Pine Flat area was reopened last week. However, to access this area, guests must approach from the Lucerne Valley area.

October 5, 2007


Crew chief and mechanic Nate Sheffer and CH54B helicopter co-pilot Jeff Hueser are on the team from Corvallis, Oregon,
who have been stationed here since September 15. To date, they have made 169 water drops (of 2,400 gallons each) on the Butler #2 Fire.

Big Pine Flat Area Reopened to Public; Closure Was Due to Butler #2 Fire
The San Bernardino National Forest has lifted the forest area closure north of Big Pine Flat, which has been closed due to the Butler #2 Fire. John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR that though this area is now open, is must be accessed from Lucerne Valley, off either High Road or Bowen Ranch Road.

Increased Fire Restrictions in Our National Forest, Effective Today

Beginning today, October 5, no open campfires or charcoal fires will be allowed anywhere on the San Bernardino National Forest. Forest officials are raising the fire restriction level due to forecasted Santa Ana winds and recent wildfire activity. At this time, the forest remains open with the exception of a temporary area closure surrounding the Butler #2 Fire zone. Forest officials continually assess conditions during fire season and raise restrictions when conditions warrant further vigilance and increased wildfire prevention activities. Current fire restrictions, including those implemented earlier this summer, are: no open campfires or charcoal fires anywhere on the forest; target shooting is permitted only at developed shooting ranges, including the Big Bear Sportsman's Club; smoking is limited to enclosed vehicles, developed recreation sites, and areas cleared of vegetation three feet in diameter; an approved spark arrestor is required for any internal combustion engine operated off state or county highways or designated forest roads--these include chainsaws, generators, motorcycles, and off-highway vehicles; welding or operating a torch with an open flame is not allowed; and fireworks are never allowed. For more information on these restrictions within the National Forest, please call 382-2600.


October 4, 2007


Helitack Crews Still on Scene for Butler #2 Fire

During the peak of Butler #2 Fire, as many as 23 helicopters were stationed in our area for fire suppression efforts, taking water from Big Bear Lake and the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency. Today, there are three aircraft stationed at the Big Bear Airport on stand-by, and ready for IA, or initial attack, when and if another fire is sparked. One of those aircraft, a CH54B helicopter has made 169 water drops since arriving here from Corvallis, Oregon on September 15. Helicopters will remain in the area Friday, as winds are expected, and aircraft capable of mapping hot zones using infrared technology is scheduled for additional flyovers tomorrow. As for the helitack crew involved in Monday's vehicular drop 400' over the side of Arctic Circle, Rocco Terracciano, today's helicopter manager with the San Bernardino National Forest (and also a Fawnskin resident), tells KBHR that all eight are doing OK, and were in attendance at yesterday's debriefing at the helicopter base at Heaps Peak.


Helitack crew Jeff Heuser, Nate Scheffer and the Forest Service's Rocco Terracciano with the CH54B at the Big Bear Airport

October 3, 2007

Cause of Butler #2 Fire Is Still Under Investigation
The U.S. Forest Service still has not released the cause of the Butler #2 Fire, which was first spotted on Friday afternoon, September 14. That said, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. As for speculation that the blaze is related to the marijuana grow detected in the area on September 24, John Miller of the Forest Service tells KBHR, “That's completely unrelated. The fire's point of origin was up on Butler ridge, and the marijuana grow was east of that, at a lower elevation.”

October 2, 2007

Butler #2 Fire Crew Survives 400' Drop With Only Minor Injuries; Highway 18 Reopened
The U.S. Forest Service confirms that the eight helicopter crew members that were involved in yesterday morning's vehicular accident off Highway 18 have all been treated for their injuries. Six of the eight only suffered minor injuries, and were treated and released from Bear Valley Community Hospital yesterday. The other two members of the crew, one of whom suffered a dislocated shoulder, and the other, who was first thought to have a dislocated pelvis but didn't, were both kept overnight at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for observation, after having been airlifted there yesterday. Despite the severity of the accident, none of the fire personnel suffered any broken bones.
The Forest Service crew buggy had been en route to the Big Bear Airport, where the crew was to resume duties on the Butler #2 Fire scene. Though the California Highway Patrol is conducting an investigation, preliminary reports suggest that the vehicle had rounded a right curve on Arctic Circle, hit a guardrail and lost control before dropping 400 feet over the embankment at approximately 9:44am. Highway 18 had been closed until 7pm last night, to allow for helicopters to land in the Arctic Circle area, to transport the wounded. Crews were also called in to pull the vehicle, in two pieces, back up the embankment near Glory Ridge. At this time, the names of the crew members have not yet been released by the San Bernardino National Forest, the agency currently overseeing rehabilitation efforts on the Butler #2 Fire.

October 1, 2007

Highway 18 Closed Due to Butler #2 Crew Fire Vehicle Over Side of Arctic Circle -- Updated
The California Highway Patrol has had Highway 18 closed since about 10am this morning. Just before that time, a U.S. Forest Service vehicle (not CalFire as earlier noted), carrying a helitack crew of seven, rolled over the side of the roadway, and two of those fire personnel are reportedly in critical, though not life-threatening, condition. The injured two have been airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. The vehicle is said to be at least 400 feet over the side of Arctic Circle near Glory Ridge. Three ambulances from the Big Bear City Fire Department, and one from Running Springs, have been on scene. Three helicopters have also been assisting in the emergency effort, which accounts for the road closure. Again, Highway 18 is now closed in both directions, from the Big Bear Dam to Snow Valley, due to an accident involving a fire crew. California Highway Patrol is having all southbound traffic turn around, as Highway 18, down the front way, remains closed. According to the latest report from the CHP, the closure will remain in effect until at least 4pm this afternoon. The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Another update as of 3:45pm: We have since received information from officials with the San Bernardino National Forest. Their reports indicate that there were eight helicopter crew members in the vehicle. All eight are said to be alert and responding. Two members of the fire crew were airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. The other six are being treated at Bear Valley Community Hospital. Names and status of medical conditions have not been released at this time. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the accident and, now, tells us that Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Snow Valley, will not be reopened until at least 5pm.
Update as of 5pm: Highway 18 down the front way is still closed, and has been since just after a Forest Service vehicle with a helitack crew of eight went over the roadway at 9:44am. The California Highway Patrol is currently investigating the accident. As of 4:30pm, cables are being lowered down the embankment, to retrieve the cab and chassis portion of the Forest Service vehicle, which is why the Arctic Circle area remains closed.
At this time, all eight helicopter crew members, who had been on their way to work at the Big Bear Airport as part of the Butler #2 Fire crew, are doing OK. Six crewmembers suffered minor injuries and cuts after their vehicle went 400 feet over the embankment near Glory Ridge. These six have been treated and are or will soon be released from Bear Valley Community Hospital. The other two fire crew personnel had been airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. One of them dislocated a shoulder, and will be released from the hospital today. The other of the more seriously injured firefighters suffered a dislocated pelvis and will remain in the hospital overnight.
As for the roadway, the most current report from CHP is that Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Snow Valley, will not be reopened until at least 6pm, so commuters should plan to take Highway 38 or 18 through Lucerne Valley.
Update as of 5:45pm: Highway 18 will remain closed until 7pm this evening, per a conversation we just had with an official from the California Highway Patrol.
Update as of 6:30pm
: The latest update on the Forest Service-vehicle-over-the-embankment incident today is good news. The firefighter thought to have a dislocated pelvis, it turns out, did not dislocate it. However, due to the severity of the impact, this helitack crew member will spend the night at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center to be monitored for internal injuries. As a precautionary measure, the firefighter with the dislocated shoulder will also remain in the hospital, also at ARMC in Colton, until tomorrow. The other six crew members have been treated and released from Bear Valley Community Hospital. The California Highway Patrol continues their investigation at this hour but, still, plans to reopen Highway 18 around 7pm this evening.

County Supervisors Expected to Lift Emergency Proclamation Re. Butler #2 Fire

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will meet in open session tomorrow, Tuesday, at 10am, in the County Government Center at 385 North Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino. At the meeting, supervisors are expected to terminate the Local Emergency Proclamation, which was issued on September 15, as a result of the Butler #2 Fire. Board Chairman Paul Biane, serving as the County's Director of Emergency Services, had made the proclamation, just 25 hours after the blaze began. Following the proclamation, the County's Emergency Operations Center was activated that day, Saturday. The County's Flood Area Task Force coordinated flood preparations, in addition to positioning portable electronic message boards and five fixed signs in the Fawnskin area, warning of potential mud slides. The County also activated the Telephone Emergency Notification System (or “reverse 911”) on September 21, and distributed flood awareness information to Fawnskin residents, as well as coordinated with the American Red Cross to predetermine evacuation staging areas and shelter sites. The County's Emergency Proclamation resulted in a State of Emergency, declared by Governor Schwarzenegger, on Saturday evening, September 15.

September 28, 2007

San Bernardino National Forest Directs Continued Rehab Efforts on the Butler #2 Fire
Over 200 fire personnel from the U.S. Forest Service remain on scene on the Butler #2 Fire. Incident Commander David Kelly of the San Bernardino National Forest's Mountain Top District tells KBHR, “Work is going well. We're now mopping up 400 to 500 feet within the perimeter. Work is continuing at a normal pace for a fire this size.” Aircraft with infrared technology continues to patrol for hot spots within the perimeter of the blaze's 14,039 acres, and these flyovers will continue into Monday. Kelly anticipates that hand crews have another two weeks or so of hard work on rehabilitation and mop-up efforts, but personnel will continue to be in the area for another month, or as long as deemed necessary.
John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR that the Interagency Burned Area Emergency Response Team is still working on their assessment, which should be ready for presentation to the Forest Service early next week. In the meantime, all Forest Service roads and trails within the burn area's perimeter do remain closed. Decisions on lifting these restrictions may be available prior to General Deer Season, which runs October 13 through November 12.


The KBHR Team flew over the Butler #2 Fire zone on Thursday, and saw evidence of a couple hot spots within the burn area's perimeter.

September 27, 2007


Marijuana Grow Found Within Butler #2 Fire's Perimeter
In other news from the Butler #2 Fire scene, there was some vegetation spared in the Butler Peak area—only that vegetation was 4,467 illegal marijuana plants. Earlier this week, while fire crews were cutting a fire line in the vicinity of the Butler Peak Lookout Tower and Arctic Circle, personnel noticed some irrigation tubing. This was reported to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, which prompted a helicopter flyover of the area by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Marijuana Eradication Team from the Narcotics Division. Deputies found the nearly 4,500 marijuana plants unburned. There was evidence that part of the grow had been harvested among the plants, which were all considered mature and budding, and clearly ready for harvest, per Jodi Miller of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Miller also told KBHR that these plants have an estimated street value of $3500 each, bringing the total to over $15 million dollars. There was evidence that people had been living in the vicinity of the marijuana grow, though no suspects were found when deputies searched the area on foot on Monday. Miller noted that this same thing happened last year, when a large marijuana grow was detected within the perimeter of the Sawtooth Fire.

September 26, 2007


National Burn Area Emergency Response Team Assesses Butler #2 Fire Scene

Rehabilitation efforts are underway in the area of the Butler #2 Fire. The Interagency Burned Area Emergency Response Team (or BAER) arrived in our area on Sunday, and are making an assessment on the burn severity, fire effects, and rehabilitation needs for cultural and natural resources and infrastructure. Once the assessment is complete, the BAER Team will initiate short-term emergency stabilization and rehab measures. The BAER Team is made up of five national team members from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Geological Service, as well as other specialists from the local Forest Service, CalTrans and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The team will focus on the potential for accelerated erosion and runoff, and will also address the following: hydrology, soil science, archaeology, geology, engineering, geography, wildlife biology, forestry and plant biology. The primary objectives in rehabilitation efforts are to protect life, property and resources, and to reduce further resource damage that may be caused by flooding as a direct result of the Butler #2 Fire.

Forestry Roads to Remain Closed Within Perimeter of Butler #2 Fire
In ongoing news on the Butler #2 Fire, the San Bernardino National Forest has about 220 Forest Service personnel on scene, and those teams are continuing rehabilitation and mop up efforts, and patrolling for isolated hot spots within the fire area. Fire personnel will remain in the area through Friday or Saturday, or as long as deemed necessary.
Fire crews remain in the Arctic Circle area of Highway 18 today, so please drive slowly through this area. The Forest Service also reminds that all forestry roads and trails within the 14,039 acres of the Butler #2 Fire area do remain closed through at least this week.


Children at the Big Bear Library's Friday afternoon Story Time offer their thanks to our firefighting heroes.

September 25, 2007


Butler #2 Fire Update as of 5pm
The San Bernardino National Forest assumed command of the Butler #2 Fire today, which is now day #12 on the incident. Though 100% containment was achieved on Thursday, John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service reminds, “The fire is not out.” Containment within the perimeter lines is one thing, a 100% controlled fire is another. That said, crews will remain on scene through Friday or Saturday, or as long as deemed necessary, though weather conditions have been favorable in recent days. Though there were approximately 280 firefighting personnel on the Butler #2 Fire this morning, that number is now at about 220. Miller tells KBHR that that number will hold for at least the next couple days, as crews do rehabilitation and mop up, and patrol for isolated hot spots within the 14,039 acres.
Fire crews were on Arctic Circle today, so motorists are reminded to drive slowly and cautiously on this portion on Highway 18, today and in coming days.

San Bernardino National Forest Assumes Control of Butler #2 Fire Today

Progress is looking good on the Butler #2 Fire which is 100% contained, though still not 100% controlled—meaning some spot fires do continue to burn with the perimeter of the 14,039 acres of burn area. Aircraft with infrared technology did continue flights over the area yesterday. A few hot spots were found, per Incident Command's Pete Jankowski today, though those few burns were well within containment lines, as much as 1,000 to 2,500 feet. With mop up efforts continuing, crews are able to go deeper into the burn area to eliminate those flare-ups.
As of this morning, 280 firefighting personnel are still on scene and, as of 10am today, command will be transferred back to the San Bernardino National Forest. All crews presently on scene are from the local and surrounding forests of the U.S. Forest Service.

September 24, 2007

Butler #2 Fire Update as of 3pm

Over 400 firefighting personnel remain on scene in our area today, as crews continue rehabilitation efforts and monitor for hot spots within the 14,039 acres of the Butler #2 Fire. These efforts continue under the leadership of California Interagency Incident Management Team 4, though management of Butler #2 will be assumed by the San Bernardino National Forest as of 10am tomorrow. Among the cooperating agencies, named by Incident Command today, are CalFire, the San Bernardino County Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, Big Bear City Fire Department, Big Bear Lake Fire Deparment, CalTrans, and the U.S. Forest Service. And, having been to Fawnskin this afternoon, the community on the North Shore is bustling and seemingly back to normal. Cynthia Crane, Postmaster at the Fawnskin Post Office, encourages others in the Valley to come on over, buy some stamps, and enjoy some time on the peaceful North Shore.

Butler #2 Fire Update as of Noon
Four hundred and thirteen fire personnel remain on scene on the Butler #2 Fire today, under the leadership of the California Interagency Incident Management Team 4. There are still isolated areas that may continue to smolder and burn, such as individual trees, within the perimeter of the 14,039 acres of burn area. Information Officer Pete Jankowski tells KBHR that, yesterday, aircraft with infrared technology capabilities did fly around the area, assuring that there were no hot spots within a couple hundred feet of Butler #2's perimeter. Aircraft will continue to patrol the area, which accounts for the delays on Arctic Circle through noon today. It is not expected that helicopters will need to be in this area tomorrow, so CalTrans has not issued any delay advisories for Highway 18 beyond this afternoon. However, drivers can expect intermittent closures if helicopter activity is necessary for fire suppression.
The to-date total cost for fire suppression efforts on the Butler #2 Fire is currently at $13,790,035. For comparison's sake, initial costs for fire suppression on the original Butler Fire, just after 100% containment of the blaze's 85 acres burned, was $1.4 million.

Butler #2 Fire Update as of 9am
The Butler #2 Fire, which began on Friday afternoon, September 14, is 100% contained, though crews remain on scene today, continuing rehabilitation efforts on the 14,039 acres of the burn zone. To date, fire suppression costs for the fire are over $13 million, and the cause of the fire still remains under investigation. Butler #2 Fire's helibase manager Rocco Terracciano tells KBHR this morning that four helicopters for fire suppression, including a sky crane, will remain in our area until at least Friday.
As of last night at 8pm, Highway 18 was reopened to traffic from the Big Bear Dam to Green Valley Lake, which includes Arctic Circle. CalTrans will continue clean up work on the roadway so, though open, you can expect drive delays of up to half an hour from 7am to noon. CalTrans has also noted that Highway 18, down the front way, may be subject to closure during rain or snow.
Our thanks again to the thousands of personnel who suppressed the Butler #2 Fire which, for days, had been ranked the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation. Thanks also to Jamie Wolcott, the ladies at the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce—Sara, Carrie, Shelly and Kat—and the volunteers at the Emergency Operations Center, including those with the Fire Safe Council, for coordinating efforts to deliver supplies to firefighters stationed at Incident Command at Snow Valley Ski Area.


September 23, 2007

Highway 18 Reopening Update
Butler #2 Fire's Information Officer Pete Jankowski tells KBHR that, this evening (Sunday), SR-18 will re-open at 8pm, from the Big Bear Dam to Green Valley Lake. Please use extra caution if you plan on driving on this portion of Highway 18. On Monday morning, between 7am and noon, expect 15-to-30 minute delays in the area while crews do clean-up work on the roadway.

Butler #2 Fire Update
The Butler #2 Fire started on September 14th and the cause is still under investigation. The estimated cost of fire suppression, so far, is $13,060,929, and the tally is 14,039 acres burned. Full containment of the fire has been reached. Crews will continue to conduct fire suppression and rehabilitation activities, including removal of equipment and materials from the area. An estimated 37 miles of fire hose was used to fight the fire. After being removed from the fire area, crews clean and inspect the hose, and re-roll it for future use. Resources include 467 personnel: 8 hand crews, 6 engines, 4 water tenders and 10 helicopters. Three outbuildings in Camp Whittle were destroyed as a result of the fire. There have been four minor injuries reported. There are no longer any evacuation orders in effect.


Butler Peak Fire Incident #2


Scroll down for an incident map and photos from the Butler #2 Fire.



Update as of 11:30am Saturday, September 22: The Butler #2 Fire started on September 14th and the cause is under investigation. The estimated cost so far is $12,180,119 and 14,039 acres burned. Full containment of the fire has been reached. Winds will again be erratic today with sustained winds of 6-15 mph and gusts up to 30 mph. Rain and snow showers are expected today. Crews will monitor the fire today and continue rehabilitation activities and mop-up along the fire's perimeter. Demobilization of excess resources is ongoing. Resources today include 608 personnel, 8 hand crews, 23 engines, 12 water tenders and 10 helicopters. Three outbuildings in Camp Whittle were destroyed as a result of the fire. There were four injuries reported. There are no longer any evacuation orders in effect. State Route 18 remains closed from Green Valley Lake to the Big Bear Lake Dam.

Update as of 5pm Friday, September 21:
The Butler #2 Fire, which began a week ago today, is now 100% contained, thanks to the efforts of thousands of firefighters from over 150 local and national agencies. There are still some hot spots within the perimeter of the burn's 14,039 acres, but fire personnel will remain in the area through at least Monday, under the direction of California Interagency ICM Team 4.
The cause of the fire, which had been ranked the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation earlier in the week, still remains under investigation. All told, Incident Command reports the loss of only three structures, those being outbuildings at Camp Whittle in the Fawnskin area. Total injuries, given all the personnel on scene, were only four: a twisted ankle, one dislocated shoulder, a dislocated knee, and minor burns.
All evacuation orders have been lifted, with Fawnskin residents being allowed to return home on Wednesday evening. Highway 38 has since been reopened along Big Bear Lake's North Shore.
Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Green Valley Lake, does remain closed. Terri Kasinga of CalTrans visited the Arctic Circle area this afternoon, along with two geologists and John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service and Dan McKernan of the Big Bear Lake Resort Association. Kasinga tells KBHR that the geologists didn't think that the slope areas on Arctic Circle, where there had been fire damage, are as bad as they could have been. Still, the cleavage on the slopes is of concern, because of the potential for debris flow should it rain or snow as expected. Geologists will revisit the area on Sunday, once the potential storm passes, to reassess damage and threats to public safety on Arctic Circle. CalTrans officials, supported by the Forest Service, will make a determination on Monday as to whether the road can be reopened before rehabilitation efforts are complete. Kasinga says that, at this time, “It is still not an area where we want to permit the public.” That said, Highway 18, down the front way, will remain closed until at least Monday, if not longer.

Update as of 3pm Friday, September 21:
Thought the Butler #2 Fire is 100% contained, we want to clarify that it is not 100% controlled. There continues to be hot spots within the perimeter of the fire's 14,039 acres. Pete Jankowski, Information Officer at Incident Command, says that crews continue to monitor the fire zone and, when they see an area that needs attention, crews will be sent in to extinguish the hot spots. Jankowski says, “There are areas and pockets that are still free burning within the perimeter, and some trees and stumps will continue to burn for some time.” As an example, grass area fuels can continue to burn for up to an hour, and logs, depending on their diameter, are fuels that can smolder for up to 100 hours or more. Though we are expecting precipitation, fuels such as logs can still continue to burn on the inside, despite rain or snow. Fire personnel are continuously monitoring the Butler #2 Fire area, while also working on mop up and continued hot spot suppression, under the leadership of California Interagency ICM Team 4.
Costs for fire suppression, to date, are estimated at $7 million, 50 thousand. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR that though there are still 16 days left in the federal government's fiscal year, this year's wildland fire expenditures have already exceeded those of last year. As an added aside, local fire agencies can seek reimbursement for costs incurred for work on the Butler #2 Fire.
And, speaking of local agencies, we also want to recognize fire crews from the cities of Beverly Hills and Fullerton, who have also been on scene here in the Big Bear Valley, though were not included in yesterday's acknowledgment of the over 150 fire crews battling the Butler #2 blaze.

In other community news (updated at 3pm): The City Council of Big Bear Lake will hold their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, September 24 at 6:30pm in Hofert Hall, and the consent calendar will include two items with regard to the Fire Protection District.
Tomorrow, Saturday, is a free day on the lake, compliments of the Big Bear Lake Municipal Water District. This means that you can enjoy fishing on Big Bear Lake without a fishing license, and boating or kayaking without a permit. The MWD offers this free day on the lake twice a year.
Monday is a late start day for students of Big Bear High School. Classes will begin at 9:13am.
The Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District will be holding a Ski Beach Design workshop next week, and the community is invited to participate. The meeting will be held at the Rec and Park offices on Park Avenue on Wednesday, September 26. A walk-through of the property will be at 5pm with the workshop to follow at 5:30pm.
Also, the meeting of the Advisory Commission of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District has been rescheduled, and they will now meet on Thursday, September 27 at 5:30pm at the Senior Center in Big Bear Lake.
The Board of Directors of the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District will meet in open session on Monday, September 24 at 6pm. The Healthcare District will hold their meeting in the conference room of the Department of Water and Power.
The Board of Commissioners of the Department of Water and Power will hold their regularly scheduled meeting next Tuesday, September 25 at their offices on Garstin Drive at 8am.
In school news, Superintendent Carole Ferraud and the Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District have rescheduled their visit to North Shore Elementary, and will be doing classroom tours on Tuesday, September 25 at 9:15am.
Activities in the Valley this weekend include the Big Bear Cowboy Gathering, which kicks off with a musical performance by Dave Stamey at the Performing Arts Center this evening at 6:30pm. Cowboy music and poetry will continue through the weekend, and more information is available at www.bigbearcowboygathering.net.
On Saturday, the Discovery Center will host the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium at 1pm, which will be followed by a Community Equinox Ceremony and potluck at 6:30pm. All are invited to this free event, which will include a community conversation about the environmental, social and spiritual sustainability of our planet. For more information, you can call Dr. Robin Bradley of EarthHeal at 866-4948.
And Oktoberfest continues at the Big Bear Convention Center on both Saturday and Sunday. Doors open at noon on both days, and Saturday evening will feature a preliminary round of the Oktoberfest Queen Stein Carrying Contest.

Reopened and closure updates for Forestry Service camps, trails and roads
: Per the U.S. Forest Service, some trails and forestry areas have been reopened now that the Butler #2 Fire has been contained. Generally speaking, areas east of Polique Canyon are open, and those west of Polique toward Green Valley Lake remain closed.
As of today, Friday, Crab Flats, Green Valley and Holcomb Valley Campgrounds will reopen. 3N16 is open to 3N34. 3N34 will be open to Crab Flats Campground. 2N09, and all roads east of 2N09, will reopen. Cougar Crest Trail is reopened.
Forestry closures include 3N16 at the 3N34 intersection, and 3N14 and 4N16, and 2N13 from Fawnskin to Green Valley. All roads west of the 2N09/3N16 intersection remain closed. Pacific Crest Trail will remain closed, from 3N16/Holcomb Creek to 2N09/Polique Canyon Road. The following also remain closed: Horse Springs, Hanna Flat, Big Pine Flat family campground, as well as Grays Peak, Ironwood and Big Pine Flat group camp, and Little Bear Springs trail camp. Four-wheel drive routes 3N93, 2N06X, 3N11 and 3N17 and ATV trail 1W17 are within the fire perimeter and remain closed, as is Butler Peak Lookout Tower.
For specific trail, road and campground information, you can call the Discovery Center at 866-3437. The Big Bear Discovery Center is open, including the Adventure Outpost, from 8:30am to 4:30pm each day. Bill Knick's Café is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 4pm.

Update as of noon on Friday, September 21: The Butler #2 Fire is 100% contained as of last night, though fire personnel will remain on scene until at least Monday. Highway 38 along the North Shore has been reopened to all traffic. Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Green Valley, is still closed, and will remain closed through the weekend. At this time, CalTrans officials are surveying the Arctic Circle. A geologist is also on the CalTrans team, which is currently evaluating the safety of the roadway. An update on Highway 18 should be available later today.

Thank you to Dr. Jerry Lemke of Evergreen Restaurant in Big Bear Lake for delivering 230 beef stroganoff dinners to fire crews yesterday (and our thanks for including the KBHR team in your generosity).


Update as of 9am Friday, September 21
: The great news from Incident Command on the Butler #2 Fire is that containment is officially at 100%, and total burned acreage was held to 14,039 acres. Today's mop up and rehabilitation efforts are being overseen by the California Interagency ICM Team 4 and, as of this morning, 1,466 personnel remain on scene. Though, according to Pete Jankowski at Incident Command, they will continue demobilization of many crews today, with an expected 500 or so firefighting personnel on scene by this evening.
Last night, there were beds available to all fire crews, given the drop in temperature. Rather than tents at Snow Valley Ski Area, where the temperature was 26 degrees early this morning at their call time, some crews spent the night at Calvary Chapel Christian Camp in Green Valley. Three hundred and twenty firefighters spent the night in Big Bear, so they could have easy access to the Arctic Circle area, if needed. Those crews were inside, and given beds, at Sacred Heart Retreat Camp and the Presbyterian Conference Grounds in Big Bear Lake.
The team is anticipating rain and possibly snow tonight so, if that does happen, crews will wait for the weather to pass before continuing rehabilitation efforts, including the set up of water bars and already-downed trees as barriers to slow the flow of water. Either way, Jankowski, who is also one of the Fire Captains for the City of Laverne, tells KBHR that crews will remain in our area until at least Monday.
The County of San Bernardino is warning residents in and below areas recently burned by wildfires to be on alert and prepare for the possibility of flash floods as the first winter storm of the season approaches. Per a county statement, the threat is particularly acute for Fawnskin and other areas near the Butler #2 Fire. Areas affected by last year's Sawtooth Fire, and even 2003's Old Fire and Grand Prix Fire, may also still be vulnerable to post-fire flooding and debris flows. Crews from Public Works, County Fire and the Sheriff's Department have been going door-to-door in Fawnskin to warn residents of the flood danger and deliver literature containing safety information. Sand bags and 25 tons of sand, donated by Robertson's Ready Mix here in Big Bear Lake, are available to residents at County Fire Station 49 in Fawnskin.
In addition, crews from Public Works and County Fire have conducted a joint walking tour of the recently burned areas to identify the places most susceptible to flooding. The county is also preparing to activate the Telephone Emergency Notification Systems (aka TENS or “reverse 911”) to alert residents of potential danger and relay evacuation information, if such steps become necessary. County Fire bulldozers and hand crews removed several debris dams from Grout Creek in Fawnskin that could have caused water to build up and eventually break through in debris flows. More information on these county-generated programs is available by calling 355-8800 for a recorded message, or you can visit the county website at www.sbcounty.gov.
All told, the Butler #2 Fire is 100% contained, all evacuation orders have been lifted and, as of last night, Highway 38 is open to all traffic. Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Green Valley Lake, will remain closed through the weekend, per CalTrans.

Update as of 6am Friday, September 21: The Butler #2 Fire is 100% contained!

Update/recap as of 5pm Thursday, September 20
: The Butler #2 Fire is at 93% containment, and has been held at 14,039 acres. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service told us earlier today that the remaining 7% includes the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18, in the vicinity of Butler Peak, and the north end of the fire toward Lucerne Valley, where there is extremely rocky and steep terrain.
Though a portion of Highway 18, down the front way, was reopened today, from Running Springs to Green Valley Lake, the Arctic Circle portion will remain closed. Terri Kasinga of CalTrans tells us that Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Green Valley, will remain closed through the weekend, in anticipation of rain in the area. Kasinga also says, “We hope for a possible opening next week, if there is no slide activity over the weekend.”
In the meantime, CalTrans is initiating an emergency contract to have racks installed in the storm drains on Arctic Circle, to eliminate clogging from fire-related debris. Kasinga also noted that they are looking into K-rails or berms for installation along the roadway where there has been rockslide activity.
Fawnskin residents were allowed to return home last night, as the mandatory evacuation was lifted at 6pm yesterday. Highway 38 along the North Shore, from the Discovery Center to the Big Bear Dam, will be reopened at 6pm this evening.
The County of San Bernardino has been in Fawnskin neighborhoods today, warning residents of the potential for flooding in burned areas, in anticipation of storms in the coming days. Those who need sandbags can pick them up at County Fire Station 49 in Fawnskin. County Fire bulldozers and hand crews have been at work removing debris dams from Grout Creek in preparation for rain.
Speaking of bulldozers, we wanted to let you know that as containment lines were created around the Butler #2 Fire, archaeologists and biologists were here, to oversee protection of special areas and species. The Forestry Service will also bring in rehabilitation teams, including hydrologists, biologists and scientists, to address the area, once 100% containment is achieved.
So, just to recap, containment on the Butler #2 Fire is at 93%, total burned acreage has been held to 14,039 acres, the mandatory evacuation for Fawnskin has been lifted, and Highway 18 down the front way remains closed.

The Butler #2 Fire is 93% contained, and Fawnskin residents have been able to return home, thanks to thousands of firefighters from across the state, and from regions throughout the U.S. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the agencies who have saved our community: the U.S. Forest Service, CalFire/California Department of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service, Nevada Department of Forestry, the Texas Forest Service, and the local fire departments of Alameda, Alhambra, Anaheim, Aptos La Selva, Atascadero, Atwater, Arroyo Grande, Bakersfield, Ben Lomond, Bennett Valley, Beverly Hills, Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake, Branciforte, Burbank, Butte County, Carpinteria-Summerland, CDF Santa Clara Ranger Unit, Channel Islands, Chico, Chino Valley, Cloverdale, Clovis, Colton, Colorado Springs, Compton, Consumnes, Corona, Diamond Springs-El Dorado, Dinuba, Downey, East Bay Regional Park District, El Cerrito, El Dorado Consolidated, El Dorado Hills, Fairfield, Felton, Folsom, Fort Hunter Liggett, Fresno City, Fresno Consolidated, Fresno County, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Georgetown, Gilroy, Glendale, Grass Valley, Graton, Hollister, Huntington Beach, Kentfield, Kern County, Kings County, Laguna Beach, Lake Valley, Larkspur, Lawrence Livermore, Laverne, Linda, Livermore-Pleasanton, Loma Linda, Lompoc, Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County, Madera County, Manteca, March Air Reserve Base, Marin Wood, Merced City, Merced County, Mill Valley, Montclair, Montebello, Montecito, Monterey Park, Monte Rio, Montezuma-Solano County, Moraga-Orinda, Morro Bay, Murrieta, Newport Beach, North County-Monterey, Novato, Oakland, Ontario, Orange City, Orange County, Orcutt, Pacific Grove, Parks RFTA, Pasadena, Paso Robles, Pechanga, Pioneer, Pismo Beach, Porterville, Quincy, Rancho Cucamonga, Red Bluff, Redding, Redlands, Rescue, Riverside City, Rohnert Park, Ross Valley, Sacramento City, Sacramento Metropolitan, Salinas, San Bernardino City, San Bernardino County, San Gabriel, Sanger, San Francisco, San Jose, San Luis Obispo City, San Luis Obispo County, San Mateo, San Miguel, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara City, Santa Barbara County, Santa Clara, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Maria, Santa Paula, Scotts Valley, Shasta County, South Pasadena, South Placer, Stanislaus City, Suisun City, Susanville, Tehama County, Templeton, Tiburon, Tracy, Tulare, Tulare Consolidated, Two Rock Coast Guard, UC Davis, Union City, Upland, Vacaville, Ventura City, Ventura County, Vernon, West Covina, Winters, Yuba City and Zayante, in addition to invaluable help from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol, CalTrans, the Big Bear Lake Municipal Water District, the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency, the American Red Cross and the California Department of Fish and Game. On behalf of the entire Big Bear Valley, thank you!


A sky crane makes a drop, using water from Big Bear Lake, on flames in the Arctic Circle area on Wednesday afternoon.

Update as of noon on Thursday, September 20
: As of yesterday evening, Incident Command reports 93% containment on the Butler #2 Fire, which has been held to 14,039 acres. The cause of the fire, which was spotted by the Butler Peak Lookout Tower on Friday afternoon, is still under investigation.
John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us that the remaining 7%, which isn't yet considered fully contained, includes the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18, in the vicinity of Butler Peak, and the north end of the fire toward Lucerne Valley, where there is extremely rocky and steep terrain.
Engine crews will remain on Arctic Circle, watching for spot fires and extinguishing any roll-out, which includes burning debris that comes down the slope. As Miller noted this morning, “Highway 18 is going to continue to be a real concern for us.”
In a conversation with Terri Kasinga of CalTrans today, she tells us that Highway 18 is still closed at the Big Bear Dam and, now, down to Green Valley Lake rather than Running Springs. Highway 18, including the Arctic Circle portion, will remain closed through the weekend, in anticipation of rain in the area. Kasinga also says, “We hope for a possible opening next week, if there is no slide activity over the weekend.”
In the meantime, CalTrans is initiating an emergency contract to have racks installed in the storm drains on Arctic Circle, to eliminate clogging from fire-related debris. Kasinga also noted that they are looking into K-rails or berms for installation along the roadway where there has been rockslide activity.
Fawnskin residents were allowed to return home last night, as the mandatory evacuation was lifted at 6pm yesterday. Postmaster Cynthia Crane tells KBHR that the Fawnskin Post Office will be open today. Highway 38 along the North Shore, from the Discovery Center to the Big Bear Dam, will be open to Fawnskin residents only, so be prepared to show identification with proof of physical address. Utility bills will be accepted as proof at the California Highway Patrol stop points. Highway 38 along the North Shore will open to everyone else after 6pm this evening.
So, just to recap, containment on the Butler #2 Fire is at 93%, total burned acreage has been held to 14,039 acres, and the mandatory evacuation for Fawnskin has been lifted.
In other news, today is a minimum day for students of Big Bear Middle School and all three elementaries in the Big Bear Valley.

Update as of 10:45am Thursday, September 20
: The Red Cross Evacuation Center at Pine Summit Christian Camp is now closed, as Fawnskin residents have been allowed to return home.
Highway 18 has been reopened from Running Springs to Green Valley Lake, but, for our traveling purposes, does remain closed at the Big Bear Dam and along Arctic Circle. This portion of Highway 18 will remain closed through the weekend, per a conversation with CalTrans this morning.

Today is a minimum day for students of Big Bear Middle School, North Shore Elementary School, Baldwin Lane Elementary School and Big Bear Elementary School.

Update as of 9am Thursday, September 20
: As of yesterday evening, Incident Command reports 93% containment on the Butler #2 Fire, which has been held to 14,039 acres. The cause of the fire, which was spotted by the Butler Peak Lookout Tower on Friday afternoon, is still under investigation.
John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us that the remaining 7% which isn't yet considered fully contained includes the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18, in the vicinity of Butler Peak, and the north end of the fire toward Lucerne Valley, where there is extremely rocky and steep terrain.
Engine crews will remain on Arctic Circle, watching for spot fires and extinguishing any roll-out, which includes burning debris that comes down the slope. As Miller noted this morning, “Highway 18 is going to continue to be a real concern for us.”
That said, Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs, will remain closed to traffic as it is still an unsafe zone. Engines, hand crews and CalTrans trucks will continue to be in that area today.
Fawnskin residents were allowed to return home last night, as the mandatory evacuation was lifted at 6pm yesterday. Postmaster Cynthia Crane tells KBHR that the Fawnskin Post Office will be open today. Highway 38 along the North Shore, from the Discovery Center to the Big Bear Dam, will be open to Fawnskin residents only, so be prepared to show identification with proof of physical address. Utility bills will be accepted as proof at the California Highway Patrol stop points. Highway 38 along the North Shore will open to everyone else after 6pm this evening.
The U.S. Forest Service reports two injuries to firefighting personnel yesterday—one dislocated shoulder, and a dislocated knee.
The following areas remain closed at this time: Camp Whittle, Big Pine Flat, Ironwood, Hanna Flat Campground, yellow post campsites, and the Butler Peak Lookout. The following forest roads also remain closed: 2N13, both ends of 3N14, 4N16, 3N16 at Crab Flats, and Grays Peak Trailhead.
But, the good news is that containment is at 93%, the Butler #2 Fire has been held to 14,039 acres, and Fawnskin residents are allowed to return home.


Firefighters, stationed at Incident Command in Snow Valley, were very grateful for the truckload of donations from the Big Bear community. The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce delivered food, jackets and sweatshirts, chapstick and other supplies to crews yesterday.
Donations of gloves, hats, sweatpants (sizes large to XXL), as well as beef jerky, granola bars and cookies, are still being accepted at the Chamber offices, at 630 Bartlett Road in the Village, today through 5pm.

Info for firefighting personnel (updated as of 11:30am Thursday): Dr. Ace Evers is offering free chiropractic adjustments to fire personnel. Feel free to stop by his offices (Wed. or Fri.), in the airport building in Big Bear City, if you need an adjustment. Dr. Evers can be reached at 584-7131.
Firefighters are being offered free haircuts at Enchanted Forest. For more information, call 866-5496 or stop by the salon at 41135 Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear Lake.
Dongio's Italian Restaurant will keep their restaurant open late, until about 10:30pm, to accommodate crews working late on the Butler #2 Fire. Dongio's is located at 42011 Big Bear Boulevard, one block west of Moonridge Road, in Big Bear Lake. For directions, call 866-5100.
Absolute Style Hair Salon, next to Sandy's Sports Bar, is offering free haircuts to firefighting personnel. Stop by the salon at 40957 Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear Lake or, if you need directions, call Michelle and Arlene at 866-4448.
Café Mambo in the Village, across from Jack in the Box, is offering 2-for-1 dinners to all firefighting personnel and Fawnskin evacuees. Café Mambo, at 878-2166, is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
Timberline Lodge, just west of Log Cabin Restaurant, at the west end of Big Bear Lake, is offering half-price rooms ($30 for two) for fire crews. For directions to 39921 Big Bear Boulevard, you can call Mia at 866-4141.
Free 10-15 minute chair massages will be available on Thursday for those fighting the fire. Massage therapist Kathryn Dickerson can be reached at 949/400-4713, or you can visit her at the offices of Dr. Evers in the airport building.
The Village Spa, located at 40729 Village Drive #9, is also offering free 10-15 minute massages to firefighting personnel. For more info, please call Village Spa at 878-3640.

Update as of 6:30am Thursday, September 20:
The Butler #2 Fire has been held at 14,039 acres with 93% containment. Today 1,997 firefighting personnel remain on scene. The mandatory evacuation for Fawnskin residents was lifted at 6pm Wednesday. Only residents will be allowed into Fawnskin at this time, so be prepared to show identification and proof of residence. The Fawnskin Post Office is open today.

Update/recap as of 5pm Wednesday, September 19
: The Butler #2 Fire is still at 86% containment, and has been held to 14,039 acres--though updated numbers are expected later this evening.
According to Incident Management Team I's Pete Jankowski, who is also one of the Fire Captains for the City of Laverne, containment lines have held up well today. In his words, “So far, so good.”
As of this afternoon, approximately 2200 firefighting personnel remain on scene, though some Type I fire engines were demobilized today, as structural threat has been minimized. The Type 3 engines, those referred to as brush engines, are all still here, as they can go off-road and battle the burn areas in more rugged terrain.
The wind factor has remained an issue today, as a High Wind Advisory is in effect for the San Bernardino Mountains through 11am Friday. The National Weather Service reports that the High Wind Advisory could mean gusts as high as 35 miles per hour in our area. Jankowski tells us that winds tend to pick up later in the evening, and they are prepared for winds to continue into the night. At issue are the smoldering and free burning trees and stumps within the fire's perimeter—or, as Jankowski noted, “kind of like a campfire that's almost out.”
Due to these factors, there is no return date for Fawnskin residents at this time. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us that the mandatory evacuation order for Fawnskin will absolutely not be lifted today.
We were in Fawnskin this afternoon, and the good news is that all homes remain intact. There are engine crews staged throughout neighborhoods, should conditions change. Though there is not much in the way of visible burn scarring from downtown Fawnskin, there are surrounding areas as close as a ¼ mile away that continue to smolder and burn.
Spot fires continue to burn on Arctic Circle. When we were on scene this afternoon, we did see flames just off the roadway. Helicopter water drops continue in the area, and hand crews are hard at work in the steep terrain off Highway 18. The Arctic Circle was lined with fire engines, and CalTrans trucks are also there, clearing the rocks, debris, and burned vegetation that has rolled down the slope and onto 18. For this reason, and ongoing concerns for public safety, there is no estimated reopen date for Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs.


Hand crews continue to do work in Fawnskin (above, left) and on Arctic Circle (right) Wednesday afternoon.

As of this morning, we still have needs requests from firefighters at work on the Butler #2 Fire. Items on their wish list include eyedrops, Gold Bond foot powder, eight-hour sunscreen, chapstick and Carmex. These items can be dropped off at the Chamber of Commerce, located at 630 Bartlett Road in the Village, until 5pm. Thank you!

Info for firefighting personnel: Dr. Ace Evers is offering free chiropractic adjustments to fire personnel. Feel free to stop by his offices (Wed. or Fri.), in the airport building in Big Bear City, if you need an adjustment. Dr. Evers can be reached at 584-7131.
Firefighters are being offered free haircuts at Enchanted Forest. For more information, call 866-5496 or stop by the salon at 41135 Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear Lake.

Dongio's Italian Restaurant asked us to relay to firefighting personnel that they will keep their restaurant open late, to accommodate crews working late on the Butler #2 Fire. Dinner will be served until 12 midnight. Dongio's is located at 42011 Big Bear Boulevard, one block west of Moonridge Road, in Big Bear Lake. For directions, call 866-5100.
Absolute Style Hair Salon, next to Sandy's Sports Bar, is offering free haircuts to firefighting personnel. Stop by the salon at 40957 Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear Lake or, if you need directions, call Michelle and Arlene at 866-4448.
Café Mambo in the Village, across from Jack in the Box, is offering 2-for-1 dinners to all firefighting personnel and Fawnskin evacuees. Café Mambo, at 878-2166, is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
Timberline Lodge, just west of Log Cabin Restaurant, at the west end of Big Bear Lake, is offering half-price rooms ($30 for two) for fire crews. For directions to 39921 Big Bear Boulevard, you can call Mia at 866-4141.
Free 10-15 minute chair massages will be available on Thursday for those fighting the fire. Massage therapist Kathryn Dickerson can be reached at 949/400-4713, or you can visit her at the offices of Dr. Evers in the airport building.

We just want to acknowledge some good deeds by our neighbors here in Big Bear, who have gone above and beyond, proving that we are living in the Great American City [really--see archive, July 16]. We hear that the Gold Pan Restaurant in Fawnskin has stayed open, and has been serving free meals to the firefighters. Three employees at CVS, Robyn, Teri and Lori, pooled their money to buy loads of supplies for fire crews who came in to their store. The Barnstorm Restaurant has been offering free drinks to crews stationed at the airport. The staff at BBARWA has provided food and cots in their conference room for off-duty fire personnel. Susan Nannini went to work baking batches of cookies as soon as she heard us announce the request yesterday, and then delivered those to crews stationed at the airport. Outlaw BBQ has been delivering pastries and coffee to the crews since Saturday. There's also Tanya, Jamie, Ginger and Cathy, who offered help with pets as early as Saturday. We know that there are many of you doing generous, kind things and giving of your resources and time, including the volunteers stationed at the Emergency Operations Center, and we just want to say thank you for taking care of the firefighters who are taking care of our community.

Update/recap as of 3pm Wednesday, September 19: Great progress has been made on the Butler #2 Fire and, though there are still areas burning, containment is at 86% as of last night, and total burned acreage has been held to 14,039 acres.
The voluntary evacuations for Lucerne Valley, Green Valley, Running Springs and Arrowbear were lifted as of last night. The mandatory evacuation for residents of Fawnskin does remain in place at this time.
As of this morning, there are over 2,300 personnel on scene, and those firefighting forces include 70 hand crews, 164 fire engines, 8 dozers, 28 water tenders, and 17 helicopters.
Lee Bentley of the U.S. Forest Service, stationed at Incident Command in Snow Valley, tells KBHR that those numbers will probably change later today, as fire status may allow for demobilization of some fire personnel. “This thing is looking real good,” Bentley notes, “as long as the winds stay the same.”
The wind factor does remain an issue today, as there is a High Wind Advisory for the San Bernardino Mountains through 11am Friday. The National Weather Service reports that the High Wind Advisory could mean gusts as high as 35 miles per hour in our area. At present, local humidity is at 11%, and winds at the KBHR studios in Big Bear City have already been as high as 20 miles an hour.
Due to these factors, and the fact that there are still areas that are burning on the Butler #2 Fire, which brings with it a possibility of blowing embers, there is no return date for Fawnskin residents at this time. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us that the mandatory evacuation order for Fawnskin will absolutely not be lifted today.
We have been in Fawnskin this afternoon, and the good news is that all homes remain intact. There are engine crews staged throughout neighborhoods, should conditions change. Though there is not much in the way of visible burn scarring from downtown Fawnskin, there are surrounding areas as close as a ¼ mile away that continue to smolder and burn.
Spot fires continue to burn on Arctic Circle. When we were on scene in the last hour, we did see flames just off the roadway. Helicopter water drops continue in the area, and hand crews are hard at work in the steep terrain off Highway 18. The Arctic Circle is lined with fire engines. CalTrans trucks are also there, clearing the rocks, debris, and burned vegetation that has rolled down the slope and onto 18. For this reason, and ongoing concerns for public safety, there is no estimated reopen date for Highway 18 from Running Springs to the Big Bear Dam.

Update as of noon Wednesday, September 19
: As of this morning, there are 2,346 personnel on scene, and those firefighting forces include 70 hand crews, 164 fire engines, 8 dozers, 28 water tenders, and 17 helicopters.
Lee Bentley of the U.S. Forest Service, stationed at Incident Command in Snow Valley, tells KBHR that those numbers will probably change later today, as fire status may allow for demobilization of some fire personnel. “This thing is looking real good,” Bentley notes, “as long as the winds stay the same. Demobilization will be possible because there has been a tremendous amount of hard work.”
The wind factor does remain an issue today, as there is a High Wind Advisory for the San Bernardino Mountains through 11am Friday. The National Weather Service reports that the High Wind Advisory could mean gusts as high as 35 miles per hour in our area. At present, local humidity is at 15%, and winds at the KBHR studios in Big Bear City have already been as high as 20 miles an hour in the last hour.
Due to these factors, and the fact that there are still areas that are burning on the Butler #2 Fire, which brings with it a possibility of blowing embers, there is no return date for Fawnskin residents at this time. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us that the mandatory evacuation order for Fawnskin will absolutely not be lifted today. We are in close contact with Incident Command and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, and will be sure to let evacuees know as soon as a return to the North Shore is announced.

Update as of 9am Wednesday, September 19
: We have great news from Incident Command on the Butler #2 Fire. As of last night, containment was upgraded to 86%, and total burned acreage was held to 14,039 acres.
The voluntary evacuations for Lucerne Valley, Green Valley, Running Springs and Arrowbear were lifted, as of 6pm last night. The mandatory evacuation for residents of Fawnskin does remain in place at this time.
As of last night's briefing, crews completed line construction along the Arctic Circle on Highway 18, and reinforced existing containment lines. The U.S. Forest Service also reports that yesterday's fire behavior was moderate, with no movement outside of the current containment lines. Today, crews will be focusing on mopping up along the fire's perimeter.
As of 6am this morning, there are 2,346 personnel on scene, and those firefighting forces include 70 hand crews, 164 fire engines, 8 dozers, 28 water tenders, and 17 helicopters.
Lee Bentley of the U.S. Forest Service, stationed at Incident Command in Snow Valley, tells KBHR that those numbers will probably change later today, as fire status may allow for demobilization of some fire personnel. “This thing is looking real good,” Bentley notes, “as long as the winds stay the same. Demobilization will be possible because there has been a tremendous amount of hard work.”
All told, no residences have been lost, though the burn area had been as close as ¼ mile from the Fawnskin community on Tuesday morning. To date, only the three outbuildings at Camp Whittle were lost to the fire.
Though we have had as many as 2,505 personnel on the Butler #2 Fire, there are reports of only two minor injuries. One firefighter suffered minor burns, and another crew member had a twisted ankle.
No word yet on when Highway 18 will reopen from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs. In the meantime, Lieutenant Rick Sanders of the California Highway Patrol had this advice for commuters and others who have been redirected out of their way: “We ask you to obey the speed limits, wear your seatbelts, and be patient with people in front of you.”
We know that the road closure has been inconvenient, especially for Valley residents who've told us that they commute to the Arrowhead area, but the road closure is a public safety issue, given that the fire has reached certain points along the roadway.

Update as of 6:30am Wednesday, September 19: The fire is 86% contained at 14,039 acres. Fawnskin is still under a mandatory evacuation order. Today 2,346 fire personnel are assigned to the Butler #2 Fire.

On Saturday, San Bernardino County declared a local emergency proclamation, which would make the Butler #2 Fire priority for all county agencies, and Supervisor Hansberger has since visited the Valley. In a just-received statement, Hansberger says, “This fire has been very active and threatening. I am concerned for the residents, especially those that have been displaced due to the fire, and am doing everything I possibly can to work closely with, and provide the needed resources to, the fire department and other responding agencies. I have spent the weekend in the mountain communities, speaking with not only officials, but residents as well. I want them to know we are here for them, and we all will pull through this together. For now, we just need to focus on making sure everyone remains safe and calm during these difficult times.”

Update as of 7pm Tuesday, September 18:
The report as of this evening is 86% containment, per the Incident Management Team's Pete Jankowski. He also tells KBHR that great progress was made in the Fawnskin and Arctic Circle areas. Other good news from the fire scene is that the voluntary evacuation for Green Valley Lake residents has been lifted this evening.


Helicopter retrieves phoschek retardant, made with recycled water, from the BBARWA facility.

Update/recap as of 5pm Tuesday, September 18
: Over 2,500 fire personnel have been hard at work today, protecting homes, dumping water and retardant on hot spots, and enforcing containment lines around the Butler #2 Fire. Containment remains at 53% and total acreage burned is still at 14,039 on the fire, which remains the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation.
When we flew over the fire zone this afternoon, we did notice a hot spot on the ridge between Windy Point and the Big Bear Dam, and aggressive air drops of water and fire retardant have been underway, with as many as 23 helicopters at work at fire suppression today. Much of the fire to the north has been smoldering, and the portion off Highway 18 at Arctic Circle is being suppressed at the roadway, given the steep terrain. Highway 18, by the way, will remain closed from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs until further notice.
Yesterday evening, some spot fires burned on the east side of the peak just off Highway 38 near Fawnskin though ICM Team I's Information Officer Pete Jankowski assures us that containment lines were successfully established last night.
We just spoke with John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service, who has been at Station 49 in Fawnskin this afternoon. He says, “It was a really good day for us. There was no big swing in the weather, which allowed crews to do what they need to do.” He assures us that firefighting personnel that aren't directly attacking the blaze are busy doing preventative work around homes and in neighborhoods from the Big Bear Dam to the Discovery Center. All homes in the Fawnskin area remain safe and intact. Handcrews are among those creating defensible space by raking pine needles, removing flammable material near homes, and doing some brush work. Miller adds that they are going to continue to do this--especially in anticipation of winds tomorrow, crews are doing all the fire preventative work they can do today.
Before signing off, Miller did want to add the following: “On behalf of all firefighters, we are very appreciative of the outpouring of support from the residents of Big Bear Valley. We even talked about it in our briefing this morning, and we are just beside ourselves with the generosity from the community.”


A view from the south of The Butler #2 Fire on Tuesday afternoon.

Community calendar (updated at 3pm): The offices of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District are closed this afternoon, due to the repaving project on Park Avenue. The Rec & Park offices will reopen on Wednesday at 8am.
The Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District will not hold their regularly scheduled Advisory Commission meeting today. The meeting will be rescheduled after the Butler #2 Fire nears containment.
The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake will meet on Wednesday, September 19, at 1:15pm in Hofert Hall.
Bearly Speaking Toastmasters will not be holding their 6pm meeting at Boo Bears this evening.
The community meeting to address the proposed Moon Camp Well, originally scheduled for Saturday, September 22 at the Fawnskin Fire Department, has been canceled. We will alert you when a new meeting date is announced.
The Regional Traffic Advisory Committee Meeting scheduled for September 19, has been rescheduled due to fire activity. RTAC will hold their next meeting on October 17 at 9am.
The Sierra Club Big Bear Group's Environmental Film Festival, which was to be at the Discovery Center this evening, has been rescheduled for the group's October meeting. Christie Walker of the Sierra Club tells us that the Environmental Film Festival will now be held on October 16.


The Red Cross tells us that, given colder temperatures, fire crews could use warm jackets and/or sweats, men's sizes large to XXL. If you would like to make a donation, the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce will coordinate distribution efforts. Items may be dropped off at the Chamber offices on Bartlett Road in the Village until 5pm.

Those who need assistance in coping with the fire and/or evacuation are invited to a free group support session, hosted by Dr. Robin Bradley today. If you are experiencing heightened anxiety, you are welcome to join one of two sessions being held in Summit Plaza, suite 221. No reservations needed for the meetings, which will be at 12:30pm and 5:15pm today. Questions can be directed to Dr. Bradley at 866-4948.

Update/recap as of 3pm Tuesday, September 18
: The Butler #2 Fire remains the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation again today, which is why we have national Incident Management Team I overseeing fire suppression. As first priority, we have tremendous air support on scene. Type I crews have also continued to join fire suppression efforts—these Type I teams have been working all summer, battling blazes in Montana and Idaho, and are now stationed here.
As of this morning, Incident Command reports 53% containment on the fire, which is a significant increase from yesterday's 12%. Though acreage was estimated at 15,433 yesterday, updated reports tell us that 14,039 total acres have burned.
At present, from our field observations, there is a hot spot on the ridge between Windy Point and the Big Bear Dam, and aggressive air drops of water and fire retardant have been underway this afternoon. Much of the fire to the north has been smoldering, and the portion off Highway 18 at Arctic Circle is being suppressed at the roadway, given the steep terrain.
Monday evening, some spot fires burned on the east side of the peak just off Highway 38 near Fawnskin, which accounts for the smoky area in the foreground when looking toward Windy Point. According to ICM Team I's Information Officer Pete Jankowski, who is one of the Fire Captains for the City of Laverne, crews established containment lines around those spot fires last night. Jankowski tells KBHR that, today, the burn area is ¼ mile from the community of Fawnskin though, again, those containment lines were successfully established last night.
On scene today are 2505 firefighting personnel, including 68 handcrews (64 of those being Type I crews which can attack the fire directly), 250 fire engines from throughout California, 12 dozers, 33 water tenders, and 23 helicopters.
Hand crews continue to create defensible space around homes in Fawnskin neighborhoods and, at this time, we still have not received any reports of home loss.
Fire officials report that there is incoming low pressure, weather-wise, and they do expect winds tomorrow, so aggressive containment efforts on the Butler #2 Fire continue.


The view from Stanfield Cutoff as of 8am Tuesday morning.

Update as of noon on Tuesday, September 18
: The Butler #2 Fire remains the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation again today, which is why we have national Incident Management Team I overseeing fire suppression. As first priority, we have tremendous air support on scene. Type I crews have also continued to join fire suppression efforts—these Type I teams have been working all summer, battling blazes in Montana and Idaho, and are now stationed here.
As of this morning, Incident Command reports 53% containment on the fire, which is a significant increase from yesterday's 12%. Though acreage was estimated at 15,433 yesterday, updated reports tell us that 14,039 total acres have burned.
Monday evening, some spot fires burned on the east side of the peak just off Highway 38 near Fawnskin, which accounts for the smoky area in the foreground when looking toward Windy Point. According to ICM Team I's Information Officer Pete Jankowski, who is the Fire Chief for the City of Laverne, crews established containment lines around those spot fires last night. At this time, he tells KBHR, the burn area is now ¼ mile from the community of Fawnskin though, again, those containment lines were successfully established last night.
Firefighters are aggressively maintaining structure protection, and crews are stationed along Highway 38 (on the North Shore) and Highway 18 in the Arctic Circle area.
Today, 64 of the 68 hand crews on scene are Type I crews. These highly qualified teams, some of which are Hot Shot crews, can attack the fire directly and are able to get into the rugged terrain that has proved daunting for fire suppression. If needed, these Type I crews can engage in coyote tactics, meaning they can work a 16-hour shift and stay at the scene, as air supply can deliver water, food and sleeping bags to them, and they are prepared to stay on scene for 24 hours. At this time, coyote tactics have not yet been implemented for these teams of 20 and, on strike teams, groups of 40.
Type II hand crews are equally important in the effort, as they are providing residential support in Fawnskin, creating defensible space, and are involved in hand-line construction. Smaller engines and hand crews are at work in the direct attack in the area of Highway 38 and Fawnskin.
Fire officials report that there is incoming low pressure, weather-wise, and they do expect winds tomorrow, so aggressive containment with the 2,505 firefighting personnel at work on the Butler #2 Fire continues.
There has been no loss of homes in the Fawnskin area. Highway 18 remains closed, from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs.

Road update: The Little Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18, from Talbot (in Boulder Bay) to the Big Bear Dam, has reopened this morning. Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs, remains closed to all traffic. No word yet when the roadway will reopen. To clarify for those of you coming up the mountain, the portion of Highway 38 from Mentone to Big Bear City remains unaffected by the fire, and is safe for travel. Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley is also open to traffic.

If you would like to do something to help the 2,505 firefighting personnel battling the Butler #2 Fire, donations of non-perishable foods are welcome. We're told that crews can use healthy, energy-boosting snacks, such as apples, oranges and trail mix. Beef jerky and cookies are also said to be among their favorites. (Please no peanuts in baked goods, due to allergies.) Drop-off of food items is now being directed to the Emergency Operations Center, located at 40524 Lakeview Drive at the Big Bear Lake Municipal Water District, through 7pm today. Our thanks to the firefighting crews and law enforcement agencies at work on the Butler #2 Fire, and community members doing their part to take care of them. Update: Reports are that crews have received plenty of donations at this point, and don't have storage capacity for more at this time. Thank you for your generosity.

Update as of 9am Tuesday, September 18: The cause of the Butler #2 Fire still remains under investigation, but progress on the blaze has been substantial in the last 24 hours. As of last night, Incident Command reported that containment is now at 53%, which is a considerable effort from yesterday morning's report of just 12% containment. The revised tally in terms of burned territory is now 14,039 acres, down from 15,433.
The Butler #2 Fire remains the top priority wildland fire incident in the nation, which assures us the necessary resources, including CalFire's DC-10, to battle the blaze. The terrain difficulty has been labeled as high, as rugged terrain on the fire's south and southeast flanks, along Highways 18 and 38, have proven challenging. Fire personnel will continue line construction on the west and south perimeters of the fire today, and will continue to provide structure protection in Fawnskin, as well as Lucerne Valley, Green Valley, and the roadway along Highway 18 at Arctic Circle. Resources have been concentrated just west of Fawnskin.
Per the U.S. Forest Service, personnel on the Butler #2 Fire is now up to 2,505. This includes 68 handcrews, 250 engines from throughout California, 12 dozers, 33 water tenders, and 23 helicopters.
All homes in Fawnskin remain intact, and hand crews have been on scene, creating defensible space around residences, by removing flammable vegetation. Crews are positioned between the fire and exposed structures in order to provide protection. At this time, the only structures to have burned as a result of the Butler #2 Fire are three sheds at Camp Whittle, though the rest of the camp has been spared at this time. Hanna Flat Campground was also burned, per a report on Saturday.
There is still no estimated reopen date for Highway 18, which remains closed from just west of Boulder Bay, which includes Little Arctic Circle and the Big Bear Dam, and down to Highway 330 at Running Springs.
At this time, there is also no scheduled return date for residents of Fawnskin. Rocky Opliger, a Deputy Chief with the San Bernardino National Forest who has led the Incident Command as the leader of national Incident Management Team 1 since Monday morning, has said that return to residences would be after containment. He pointed out that the main thing is they don't want to have to re-evacuate Fawnskin after a premature return. The evacuation center that had been established at Big Bear High School has been relocated to Pine Summit Christian Camp at 700 Wren Drive in Big Bear Lake, as school is back in session today. Fawnskin residents will have access to mail delivery at the Big Bear City Post Office, from 1 to 3pm each day during the mandatory evacuation.

Free breakfast available to Fawnskin evacuees: The American Legion Post 584 started serving breakfast at 8:30am for all displaced Fawnskin residents. The American Legion is located at 41606 Big Bear Boulevard, at the northwest corner of Crane, in Big Bear Lake. For more information, you can call 866-4845.

Update as of 6:00am Tuesday, September 18:
The Butler #2 Fire is 14,039 acres and 53% contained. 2,505 personnel are assigned to the fire. Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for the community of Fawnskin. The evacuation center has been moved from Big Bear High School to the Pine Summit Christian Camp at 700 Wren Drive in Big Bear Lake. There will be school today for students of the Bear Valley Unified School District. SR-18 is closed from Running Springs east to the Big Bear Dam and Little Arctic Circle at the west end of Big Bear Lake. Click on our "roads" page for details.

Update as of 9:00pm Monday, September 17: The Butler #2 Fire is now 53% contained, 2505 personnel are assigned to fight the fire. The updated acres burned to date have been reduced to 14,039. The Butler #2 Fire continues to be the top fire incident in the nation, thus garnering the necessary resources to battle the fire. The south and southeast flank of the fire perimeter along Highways 18 and 38 seem to be the most stubborn areas as they also contain some the most rugged terrain. Firefighters from around the state are assisting in this fire fight. Where threatened structures are located, firefighters are removing flammable vegetation, creating defensible space and then positioning themselves between the fire and exposed structures in order to provide a greater degree of protection against an advancing fire.


Hand crews have been creating defensible space around homes in Fawnskin today.


Recap/update as of 5pm Monday, September 17
: The Butler #2 Fire remains the number one wildland fire priority in the nation, though fire officials report good progress on the fire today. The active fire is now 2 ½ miles west of Fawnskin, which is much improved from yesterday's report that the fire was just a half mile west of the community on the North Shore. Official statistics on the fire have not been updated in recent hours, though the fire has stayed within the perimeter established by fire personnel, 2,245 of which have been on scene today. Current statistics remain at 15,433 acres burned and 12% containment.
As of this morning, the nation's Incident Management Team 1 assumed leadership of the Butler #2 Fire, and fire crews from throughout the state of California are here in the Big Bear Valley.
Fire officials report that containment efforts to the north have been successful, and the west-bound perimeter of the fire has also seen considerable progress today. Word is that fire crews expect to have the upper hand in fire suppression efforts later today, or tomorrow.
John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service reports that the following fire suppression crews and equipment are on scene: 102 hand crews of 20 members each, 10 helicopters, 12 airtankers including the DC-10, 250 fire engines, 33 water tenders, and 12 dozers.
Little Arctic Circle was added to the Highway 18 closure (from Running Springs) to ensure public safety and relieve congestion at the west end of Big Bear Lake, where helicopters have been retrieving water for fire suppression. CalTrans tells us that there is no estimated reopen date for Highway 18 down the front way.
Fire crews have been creating defensible space around homes in Fawnskin, by clearing vegetation and removing duff. Sheriff's Deputies are also in the neighborhood, to ensure the safety of residences. There are still no reports of structural loss, aside from an unconfirmed report that three sheds at Camp Whittle have burned. There is no estimated return date for residents of Fawnskin, though mail pick-up for evacuees will be available at the Big Bear City Post Office each day, from 1 to 3pm.
Bear Valley Unified School District has announced that there will be school tomorrow, Tuesday.

The Red Cross Evacuation Center will be relocating from Big Bear High School to Pine Summit Conference Grounds, as of 4pm today. Pine Summit is located at the southern end of Wren, off Big Bear Boulevard, in Big Bear Lake. Please note that pets are not allowed at Red Cross Evacuation Centers. (If you need assistance with housing your pet, we do have some phone numbers listed below—just scroll down.)

Update as of 3pm Monday, September 17
: We have just been on the fire scene, and reports are good on the Butler #2 Fire. There are presently 120 handcrews of 20 firefighters each aggressively attacking the fire on the ground, with the active fire burning now 2 ½ miles west of Fawnskin. This is a marked improvement as, earlier, the fire line had reached as far east as a half mile from Fawnskin. Fire officials report that containment efforts to the north have been successful, and the west-bound perimeter of the fire has also seen considerable progress today. Word is that fire crews expect to have the upper hand in fire suppression efforts later today, or tomorrow.
The Butler #2 Fire is still at 15,433 acres burned, and containment remains at 12% for now, though fire officials will have an update on that percentage this evening. At last night's Community Fire Information Meeting, Dave Fiorello of the U.S. Forest Service reported that fire crews have a good line on the east side, though there is a lot of timber in that area. Crews are building a contingency line from forest road 3N14 to the Big Bear Dam.
As of this morning, the national Incident Management Team 1 is leading the fire suppression efforts, though our local fire agencies have been involved and on scene throughout the Butler #2 Fire. Big Bear City Fire Chief Dana Van Leuven and Big Bear Lake Fire Chief John Morley have been involved in the decision-making meetings since the fire began on Friday afternoon.
Fire crews from all over the state are here in the Big Bear Valley. Some of these crews are stationed at residences in the Fawnskin neighborhoods, to ensure the safety of homes. Some crews are actually creating defensible space in Fawnskin neighborhoods this afternoon, by clearing flammable vegetation and duff (pine needles and leaves) near homes.
Incident Commander Rocky Opliger says, “Not only are we fighting the fire, we're doing contingency planning, and we are also doing long-term planning.”
Earlier this afternoon (just before 1:30pm), a single engine aircraft had a hard landing, not a crash, in the Fox Farm area at Sandalwood Drive. The U.S. Forest Service aircraft had been in fire suppression efforts, dropping retardant on the Butler #2 Fire. The aircraft's hard landing was a probable result of engine failure. The pilot, who had been the only person in the airplane, was able to walk away from the incident without injury.



Schools open tomorrow
: Bear Valley Unified School District has announced that school will be in session tomorrow, Tuesday. If conditions change, the school district will have that information posted on their website and on the BVUSD voicemail at 866-4631. School information will also be available on 93.3FM.

There are fire suppression crews stationed all along Arctic Circle. Reports from the scene are that the fire is slowly rolling to sections of Highway 18. As the fire reaches the roadway, crews are battling it.

In other community news (updated at 9am, 11am, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm): The Community Emergency Response Team training class is on for this evening. Those who have already signed up for CERT training should report to the Big Bear City Fire Department at 6pm.
The Big Bear City Community Services District will not be holding their regularly scheduled meeting this evening.
This afternoon's Mental Health Forum, scheduled for 2:30pm, has been postponed until next week. The Mental Health Forum will be held at the Recreation and Park District Gym, at the west end of Meadow Park, on Monday, September 24 at 2:30pm.
The Sierra Club Big Bear Group's Environmental Film Festival, which was to be at the Discovery Center on Tuesday evening, has been rescheduled for the group's October meeting. Christie Walker of the Sierra Club tells us that the Environmental Film Festival will now be held on October 16.
The VCA Lakeside Animal Hospital on the North Shore has asked that those who have pets there, please come pick up their animals this morning. (More information on pets, and community assistance, is posted below.)
The Big Bear Library has canceled this evening's lecture on Bi-Polar Disorder, to have been presented by Dr. Stout.
The community meeting to address the proposed Moon Camp Well, originally scheduled for Saturday, September 22 at the Fawnskin Fire Department, has been canceled. We will alert you when a new meeting date is announced.
The MOM Project in Big Bear City has canceled all classes for today. (Their general M.O. is that if BVUSD schools are closed, then MOM Project classes will be canceled.)

Update/recap as of noon on Monday, September 17
: Though smoke is drifting into the Valley, the Butler #2 Fire remains within the perimeters established by the 2,245 firefighting personnel on scene today. The fire is still at 15,433 acres burned and containment is at 12%. The Butler #2 Fire, the cause of which is still under investigation, remains the number one priority wildfire incident in the nation.
As of this morning, Rocky Opliger, a Deputy Chief with the San Bernardino National Forest, is now leading the Incident Command as the country's Incident Management Team 1 is overseeing fire suppression efforts. This ICM Team has a higher spending authority and Opliger is a veteran in emergency situations—he tells KBHR that he was on the team that led emergency efforts on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Space Shuttle incident years ago.
At this time, there is no estimated containment date for the Butler #2 Fire. Opliger says, “We're making progress, that's all I can tell you. There are no guarantees. Our number one priority is public and firefighter safety. This fire is being managed 24 hours a day.” He also noted that firefighting crews are working 16+ hours a day.
As of 9:30am today, the U.S. Forest Service reports that the following are on scene: 102 hand crews of 20 members each, 10 helicopters, 12 airtankers including the DC-10, 250 fire engines, 33 water tenders, and 12 dozers. The DC-10 can drop 12,000 gallons [correction] of fire retardant in a single drop and, on Saturday, dropped 99,000 gallons of fire retardant in a 4½ hour period—this is a feat that would take 83 regular airtankers to accomplish.
Highway 18 remains closed, from Running Springs to just west of Boulder Bay. CalTrans tells us that there is no estimated reopen date at this time.
The fire remains one half mile from the community of Fawnskin, though there are no reports of structural loss, aside from an unconfirmed report that three sheds at Camp Whittle have burned.
There is no estimated return date for residents of Fawnskin. Those who have post office boxes at the Fawnskin Post Office will be able to pick up their mail at the Big Bear City Post Office, from 1 to 3pm each day during the evacuation, per Postmaster Cynthia Crane.
Captain Lee Watkins of the Big Bear Sheriff's Station commended the residents of Fawnskin at last night's Community Fire Information Meeting. He says, “Thank you for evacuating when we asked. Ninety percent of you were really prepared—and you left. We evacuated that whole area in about three hours. I know it's inconvenient, but you can see now it was a good call.” Additional manpower from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is on scene in Fawnskin, to keep your homes safe.


Fire Information Officer Jim Wilkins and Incident Commander Rocky Opliger
at Sunday evening's Community Fire Information Meeting at the PAC.


The Boulder Bay area is not being evacuated. Little Arctic Circle has been added to the Highway 18 closure (from Running Springs) to ensure public safety and relieve congestion at the west end of Big Bear Lake, where helicopters are retrieving water for fire suppression. CalTrans tells us that there is no estimated reopen date for Highway 18 down the front way.

As of 9:30am Monday, September 17: Fire officials have asked the California Highway Patrol to close an additional portion of Highway 18. Little Arctic Circle will now be closed from the Dam to just west of Boulder Bay, to alleviate congestion in the area, as 10 helicopters will be pulling water from the west end of Big Bear Lake. Highway 18 is now closed from Running Springs to just west of Boulder Bay. Residents of this portion of Big Bear will be allowed access to their homes.

As of 8am Monday, September 17
: Rocky Opliger, Deputy Chief with the San Bernardino National Forest and, as of this morning, the Incident Commander on Butler #2 Fire, says that this fire, currently burning approximately 15,400 acres, is unrelated to the original Butler Fire, which was sparked by lightning 13 days earlier. The Butler #2 Fire, which was reported from the Butler Peak Lookout Tower spared over Labor Day weekend, was named Butler #2 because of its location, as fires are named for their geographical identity. Since the original Butler Fire, Opliger points out, we did have two inches of rain in the fire area. “Right now,” he says, “we don't have an estimated containment date.” As of this morning, containment is still at 12% percent, though weather conditions have been favorable, and 2,245 personnel are on scene today, battling Butler #2 Fire, which remains the number one wildland fire priority in the nation.

No homes in the Fawnskin area have been lost to the fire, and residences are being watched by deputies of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Captain Lee Watkins of the Big Bear Station reports, “I've brought in additional manpower to keep that area safe. I pledge to you that we will continue that.” To date, there are unconfirmed reports that three sheds have burned at Camp Whittle. The Hanna Flat Campground was destroyed by fire on Saturday.

As there is no anticipated return date for residents of Fawnskin at this time, Postmaster Cynthia Crane of the Fawnskin Post Office tells KBHR that those who receive their mail from the Fawnskin Post Office will be able to pick up their mail at the Big Bear City Post Office (off Greenway Drive) from 1 to 3pm today, Monday.

Highway 18, down the front way remains closed to all traffic, from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs, though residents of Green Valley Lake are being allowed access from Running Springs. At last night's Community Fire Information Meeting, Fire Information Officer Jim Wilkins said, “The fire has burned all the way down to the highway. There is no way to protect you from that stuff that's coming down.” That stuff is rocks, due to erosion, and debris from the fire. That said, CalTrans tells us that Highway 18, along Arctic Circle, will remain closed until at least Tuesday afternoon, though no reopen date has yet been scheduled.

Assistance With Pets Offered: If you have dogs or cats, and need assistance or a place to keep them if you've evacuated from Fawnskin, Tanya at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in Lucerne Valley has offered assistance. Tanya's cell phone number is 760/250-8163. The following three individuals have offered their assistance and resources to those who have horses: Jamie Morrow at 909/553-0954, Ginger at 760/248-6959, Cathy Armsby at Los Vaqueros Arena at 909/709-9901.

As of 7am Monday, September 17
: Rocky Opliger, Deputy Chief with the San Bernardino National Forest and, as of this morning, the Incident Commander on Butler #2 Fire, says that this fire, currently burning approximately 15,400 acres, is unrelated to the original Butler Fire, which was sparked by lightning 13 days earlier. The Butler #2 Fire, which was reported from the Butler Peak Lookout Tower spared over Labor Day weekend, was named Butler #2 because of its location, as fires are named for their geographical identity. Since the original Butler Fire, Opliger points out, we did have two inches of rain in the fire area. “Right now,” he says, “we don't have an estimated containment date.” As of this morning, containment is still at 12% percent.

Postmaster Cynthia Crane of the Fawnskin Post Office tells KBHR that those who receive their mail from the Fawnskin Post Office will be able to pick up their mail at the Big Bear City Post Office (off Greenway Drive) from 1 to 3pm today, Monday.



Fire progression map Friday through Sunday evening

Map legend:
Yellow areas as of Fri 9/14 PM
Orange areas as of Saturday, 9/15 at 9am
Pink areas as of Saturday, 9/15 at 1pm
Blue areas as of Saturday, 9/15 at 7pm

Community Fire Information Meeting is being broadcast live on 93.3FM from 7:30pm to 8:30pm.

The Community Meeting will be re-broadcast Sunday at 9:15pm.

Recap as of 6:30pm Sunday, September 16: The Butler #2 Fire, which was reported just before 1:30pm on Friday, has burned 15,433 acres as of this afternoon. Fire officials report 12% containment, and more information should be forthcoming at this evening's 7pm meeting at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center (at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard). As of 4:30pm, fire officials reported that winds had picked up and shifted slightly, resulting in two crews working in the Fawnskin area to pull back to safety zones. It is not believed that the fire had moved any closer to Fawnskin, though the Butler #2 Fire burns just a half mile from the town. The slight shift in wind has moved the smoke billows, so that it appears that the fire has moved more than it actually has. There is no immediate threat to other portions of Big Bear Valley. To date, only one structure at Camp Whittle has been lost to the fire. Mandatory evacuations remain in place for residents of Fawnskin, though residents of Green Valley Lake, Running Springs and Lucerne Valley are under a voluntary evacuation at this time.
As for the road situation, Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley and Highway 38 through Mentone are open. Highway 18 down the front way is closed to all traffic, from Running Springs to the Big Bear Dam. A CalTrans official tells us that the Butler #2 Fire did burn to the highway in the Arctic Circle area, but crews are on scene to protect the road. At this time, it is anticipated that the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18 will be closed until at least Tuesday afternoon. Highway 38, on the North Shore from the Big Bear Dam to North Shore West and Polique Canyon, is closed.
All schools in the Bear Valley Unified School District will be closed on Monday as a precautionary measure. Rainbow Kids Club will be open at the Big Bear Elementary site on Knickerbocker, from 7am to 6pm. Students who attend Rainbow Kids at North Shore or Baldwin Lane are welcome at the Big Bear Elementary site on Knickerbocker.
Big Bear High School is still operating as a Red Cross Evacuation Center, though an official from the Red Cross tells KBHR that the evacuation center at Victor Valley Community College will be closing this evening.
Fire officials will be addressing evacuees of the Fawnskin area at this evening's 7:30pm meeting (doors open at 7pm). The U.S. Forest Service tells us that the community meeting in Running Springs today was packed and standing room only, so we at KBHR will be bringing you this evening's meeting live, on the radio. Stay tuned to KBHR for a live broadcast of the 7:30 Fire Information Community Meeting here at 93.3 FM.

Schools closed tomorrow
: All schools in the Bear Valley Unified School District schools will be closed tomorrow, Monday, as a precautionary measure. Reese Troublefield of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District tells us that students who attend Rainbow Kids Club will be welcome tomorrow, however only the Big Bear Elementary site will be open. Attendees of all Rainbow Kids Club may attend the Big Bear Elementary site on Knickerbocker as RKC sites at Baldwin Lane and North Shore will be closed. The Rainbow Kids Club will be open from 7am to 6pm and, again, all BVUSD schools closed on Monday. The special “Rachel's Challenge” assembly, that was to be at Big Bear High School tomorrow, will be rescheduled.

As of 4:30pm Sunday, fire officials tells us that east of Butler Peak, along the ridge line, the fire has progressed down to Highway 18. There are fire crews on scene, to protect the road from fire damage.
Currently the winds have picked up and shifted slightly, causing two fire crew divisions working near Fawnskin to pull back to safety zones. It is not believed that the fire has moved any closer to Fawnskin, but it still remains dangerously close at one half mile from town.
According to fire personnel sources, the slight shift in wind has moved the smoke billows so that it appears that the fire has moved more than it actually has. Reports are still coming in that Butler #2 Fire smoke is blowing as far away as Las Vegas.

As of 4pm Sunday, CalTrans confirms that Highway 18 is closed from Highway 330 in Running Springs to the Big Bear Dam. Terri Kasinga of CalTrans tells KBHR that the Butler #2 Fire has been burning in the Arctic Circle area, down to the highway, and there are some future concerns with regard to erosion and the consequences of that in winter weather. On Saturday afternoon, CalTrans brought in an additional 32 personnel to evacuate their equipment in the Fawnskin area. It is anticipated that Highway 18, at least on the Arctic Circle, will be closed until at least Tuesday afternoon.

Highway 38 remains closed on the North Shore, from the Big Bear Dam to North Shore West/Polique Canyon. All other roads, including Highway 18 to Lucerne and Highway 38 to Mentone, are open to all traffic.

In addition to this evening's 7pm meeting at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center, a 4pm community meeting at the Hootman Center in Running Springs is underway.



As of 1:50pm Sunday, September 16:

Firefighters continue to battle the fire in the air and on the ground. The winds are gusting 20mph, with humidity at 10%, making firefighting more difficult. But, it appears as if the fire is burning less vigorously today. At this time, no homes have been lost, but Fawnskin remains evacuated and is the closest community to the Butler #2 Fire. Other communities in Big Bear are not in immediate danger. It was reported by fire officials that Camp Whittle, near Fawnskin, has lost one “outbuilding”. As updated information becomes available, we will pass it on to our listeners on 93. 3FM.

As of 11:15am Sunday, September 16:

The Butler #2 Fire is 12% contained with 15,437 acres burned. The community of Fawnskin is still under a mandatory evacuation as firefighters continue to keep the fire out of the town. The Green Valley evacuation has been reduced to a voluntary evacuation. The communities of Arrowbear and Running Springs remain under voluntary evacuation. Evacuation centers are Big Bear High School, Jerry Lewis Community Center in Highland and Victor Valley Community College in Victorville. Highway 38 is closed from the Big Bear Dam to North Shore West, allowing travel to and from the Serrrano Campground and the Discovery Center. The Bear Valley Unified School District will not have classes on Monday as a precaution due to the Butler #2 Fire. There are 1300 firefighting personnel deployed on this fire with 12 air tankers including the 910 (a DC-10 water dropper), 14 helicopters, 66 crews, 12 dozers and15 water tenders. A Type 1 Federal Fire Management Team will lead today's fire suppression efforts.

A Community Fire Information Meeting is scheduled for 7:30pm tonight at the City of Big Bear Lake's Performing Arts Center (PAC) at 39707 Big Bear Blvd. in Big Bear Lake. Doors open at 7:00pm. On hand will be federal and local fire management officials to show maps, distribute information and answer questions.


The Butler #2 Fire, as seen from Stanfield Cutoff, at 3pm Sunday

As of 8am Sunday, September 16:

The Butler #2 Fire has now consumed 15,437 acres and, as of this morning, is 12% contained. Firefighters worked the fire through the night, keeping it away from structures in Fawnskin. The mandatory evacuation remains in effect for the communities of Fawnskin and Green Valley Lake. Winds continue to hamper the fight, along with low humidity, but, fortunately, temperatures will continue to drop for the next few days. Highway 18 is closed from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs in both directions due to the fire.

As of 9:45pm Saturday, September 15:

Incident Command reports that the revised acreage tally is 13,829 acres have burned in the Butler #2 Fire. Containment is still at 5%, though firefighting crews will continue working all night, and expect that number to be changed by morning, when 1,085 personnel will be on scene. Aircraft will resume at first sunlight. CalFire's DC-10, which has been on scene since 11am, can carry 12,000 gallons [correction] of fire retardant, and will continue to do so on Sunday. As of nightfall, only one structure has burned, that being an outbuilding at Camp Whittle. Hanna Flat Campground has been destroyed. All homes in the Fawnskin area are OK and Fire Information Officer Jim Wilkins tells us that there is no immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley.

As of 2:30pm today, San Bernardino County, specifically Board of Supervisors Chairman Paul Biane acting as the county's Director of Emergency Services, declared a local emergency proclamation. In addition to making Butler #2 Fire a priority for all county agencies, the proclamation is the essential first step in securing state and federal disaster assistance. The county reports that the Telephone Emergency Notification System (known as TENS or “reverse 911”) was successful in conveying evacuation information to residents today.

Mandatory evacuations are in place for Fawnskin, and east on Big Bear Lake's North Shore to the Discovery Center, and the Green Valley area. Voluntary evacuations are in place for residents of Arrowbear, Running Springs and Lucerne Valley. Evacuation centers are available to evacuees at the following locations: Big Bear High School at 351 Maple Lane in Big Bear City, Victor Valley Community College in Victorville, the Jerry Lewis Center in Highland. Please do not bring pets to Red Cross Evacuation Centers.

Highway 18 through Lucerne is open. Highway 18, down the front way, is closed to up-bound traffic, from Highway 330 to the Big Bear Dam. However, those evacuating the mountain may take Highway 18 down the mountain. Highway 38 over Onyx Summit and down to Mentone is open. The portion of Highway 38 that covers North Shore Drive is closed from the Big Bear Dam to Stanfield Cutoff, though Stanfied Cutoff is open to traffic.

The Butler #2 Fire remains the number one wildfire priority in the nation.

As of 8pm Saturday, September 15:

Incident Command reports that 18,000 acres have burned in the Butler #2 Fire. Containment is still at 5%, though firefighting crews will continue working all night. Aircraft will resume at first sunlight. CalFire's DC-10, which has been on scene since 11am, can carry 12,000 gallons of fire retardant, and will continue to do so on Sunday. As of nightfall, only one structure has burned, that being an outbuilding at Camp Whittle. Hanna Flat Campground has been destroyed. All homes in the Fawnskin area are OK and Fire Information Officer Jim Wilkins tells us that there is no immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley.

As of 2:30pm today, San Bernardino County, specifically Board of Supervisors Chairman Paul Biane, acting as the County's Director of Emergency Services, declared a local emergency proclamation. In addition to making Butler #2 Fire a priority for all county agencies, the proclamation is the essential first step in securing state and federal disaster assistance. The county reports that the Telephone Emergency Notification System (known as TENS or “reverse 911”) was successful in conveying evacuation information to residents today.

Mandatory evacuations are in place for Fawnskin, and east on Big Bear Lake's North Shore to the Discovery Center, and the Green Valley area. Voluntary evacuations are in place for residents of Arrowbear, Running Springs and Lucerne Valley. Evacuation centers are available to evacuees at the following locations: Big Bear High School at 351 Maple Lane in Big Bear City, Victor Valley Community College in Victorville, the Jerry Lewis Center in Highland. Please do not bring pets to Red Cross Evacuation Centers.

Highway 18 through Lucerne is open. Highway 18, down the front way, is closed to up-bound traffic, from Highway 330 to the Big Bear Dam. However, those evacuating the mountain may take Highway 18 down the mountain. Highway 38 over Onyx Summit and down to Mentone is open. The portion of Highway 38 that covers North Shore Drive is closed from the Big Bear Dam to Stanfield Cutoff, though Stanfied Cutoff is open to traffic.

The Butler #2 Fire, the cause of which is still under investigation, remains the number one wildfire priority in the nation.


As of 4pm, Fire Information Officer Jim Wilkins tells KBHR that the Butler #2 Fire has burned 18,000 acres, and is 5% contained. CalFire's DC-10 has been added to fire suppression equipment as of this morning.
Mandatory evacuations are in place for Fawnskin, and east to the Discovery Center on Big Bear Lake's North Shore. Evacuees are being directed to the Red Cross Evacuation Center at Big Bear High School (on Maple Lane in Big Bear City). As of 6:30pm, just one outbuilding at Camp Whittle has burned. No homes in the Fawnskin area have been burned.
Mandatory evacuation orders are also in place for residents of Green Valley. An evacuation center has been established at the Jerry Lewis Center in Highland.
Voluntary evacuations are in place for Running Springs, Arrowbear and Lucerne Valley. Evacuees of the Lucerne area are being directed to Victor Valley Community College in Victorville. (Please note that pets are not allowed at Red Cross evacuation centers.)
Highway 18 through Lucerne is open at this time. Highway 38 over Onyx Summit is open. Highway 18, down the front way, is open to those leaving the mountain, but is closed to up-bound traffic from Snow Valley to the Big Bear Dam.

AS OF 2:30PM SATURDAY, THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY OF GREEN VALLEY IS UNDER A MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER, ALONG WITH THE COMMUNITY OF FAWNSKIN. IT IS NOW ESTIMATED THAT THE BUTLER #2 FIRE HAS BURNED 18,000 ACRES.

AS OF 1:30PM, THE EVACUATION CENTER FOR LUCERNE VALLEY RESIDENTS IS THE VICTOR VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN VICTORVILLE. A RED CROSS EVACUATION CENTER HAS BEEN SET UP AT BIG BEAR HIGH SCHOOL, THOUGH BE ADVISED THAT EVACUEES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BRING THEIR PETS. IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE IN REMOVING DOGS AND CATS FROM THE FAWNSKIN HOMES, CONTACT TANYA AT 760-250-8163.

AS OF 11:45AM, HIGHWAY 38 IS CLOSED FROM THE BIG BEAR DAM TO STANFIELD CUT-OFF ALONG THE NORTH SIDE OF BIG BEAR LAKE. HIGHWAY 38, OVER ONYX SUMMIT TO REDLANDS, IS OPEN AND HIGHWAY 18 TO LUCERNE VALLEY IS OPEN.

AS OF 11:30AM, MANDATORY EVACUATION FOR FAWNSKIN ON THE NORTH SIDE OF BIG BEAR LAKE, FROM THE DISCOVERY CENTER TO FAWNSKIN, DUE TO THE BUTLER #2 FIRE. HIGHWAY 18 DOWN THE FRONT ROUTE IS BEING OPENED FOR DOWN-BOUND TRAFFIC ONLY TO ASSIST RESIDENTS AND VISITORS OF FAWNSKIN IN EXITING THE VALLEY. IN ADDITION, A VOLUNTARY EVACUATION OF THE PFIZER BUTTE PORTION OF LUCERNE VALLEY, WHICH INCLUDES THE CRYSTAL CREEK AND HIGH ROAD AREA. NO EVACUATION CENTER IS SET UP YET FOR LUCERNE VALLEY RESIDENTS, BUT BIG BEAR HIGH SCHOOL IS SET UP AS AN EVACUATION CENTER FOR FAWNSKIN RESIDENTS.


As of 8:45am, Saturday John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR that the fire grown to 4,000 acres and is now the number one wildland fire priority in the nation.

As of 8:45am Saturday 9/15/07: Highway 18 remains closed between the Big Bear Dam and Snow Valley due to the Butler #2 Fire, other routes including 38 to Redlands and 18 to Lucerne Valley are open. 628 personnel have been assigned to this incident including 22 hand crews, 27 engines, 4 helicopters, 6 fixed winged, 2 helitankers and 15 water-tenders. No communities are currently threatened or evacuated. The fire experienced active burning throughout last night, moving in the direction of the high desert. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

As of 7:00am Saturday 9/15/07: Highway 18 is closed between Snow Valley and Big Bear Dam due to the fire. The fire has consumed approximately 2000 acres. The fire progressed north northeast overnight toward the Holcomb Valley and the high desert, due in part to low humidity and windy conditions.

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

As of 9:00pm on September 14, the Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 is at least 200 acres with no containment at this time.

As of 5:40pm, the Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 is burning in a northerly direction towards the western end of Holcomb Valley. At this time, the fire is at least 200 acres. No evacuations have been called for the communities of Big Bear.

As of 4:10pm, according to John Miller, the Public Information Officer for the U.S. Forest Service, the Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 started at 1:21pm and the cause is under investigation. The fire remains at approximately 200 acres and is burning north. Only Camp Whittle and Hannah Flats have been evacuated. At this time, there has been no loss of structures. Three forestry roads have been closed and they are 3N16, 3N14 and 2N13. More assistance has been ordered to work on the fire. Currently there are 3 airtankers, 3 helicopters and numerous engines and hand crews on the scene. Highway 18 remains open at this time.

As of 3:15pm, the Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 is up to 200 acres and is burning to the north. Camp Whittle and Hannah Flats have been evacuated. Highway 18 is still open at this time. No evacuations have been called for the Big Bear communities.

At approximately 1:30pm this afternoon (September 14, 2007), a fire started in the Butler Peak area near where the fire started over Labor Day weekend. This fire is being called the Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 and was last reported to be 5 acres. A total of 6 aircraft have been called to the incident with 4 fixed wing aircraft, 1 large heli-tanker, 1 medium sized helicopter and fire crews. As of 2pm, Highway 18 remains open but, according to Caltrans, that could change at any time depending on what happens with the fire. If possible, tune in to KBHR 93.3 FM for more information.

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