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Riverside County Sends Strike Teams to Colby Fire, Red Flags 4th Day in a Row

The Colby Fire viewed from Glendora, Calif., Jan. 16, 2014. Photo by Dirk Hopstein.
The Colby Fire viewed from Glendora, Calif., Jan. 16, 2014. Photo by Dirk Hopstein.
Cal Fire-Riverside County sent strike teams Thursday to aid more than 500 personnel on the Colby Fire burning in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Glendora, while local crews remained on alert during a fourth straight day of red flag warnings.

"Earlier today we sent five engines and a battalion chief, three camp strike teams, a helicopter, two tankers and an air attack," Mark Annas of Cal Fire told Patch in a phone interview at noon Jan. 16.

The Colby Fire was reported just before 6 a.m. Thursday near Glendora Mountain Road and Colby Truck Trail, and as of noon it had burned more than 1,700 acres, according to the Forest Service.

At least two homes had burned and three people had been arrested in connection with ignition of the fire, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A full contingent of crews remain assigned in Riverside County, Annas said, noting command staff augmented staffing for this week due to forecasts for winds, heat and dry conditions.

The red flag warning for Thursday is for the mountains, inland valleys and west San Gorgonio Pass for "strong gusty winds and low humidity," the National Weather Service advised mid-morning Jan. 16.

"High pressure aloft along the West Coast and strong surface high pressure over the Great Basin will continue to produce very warm and dry conditions along with gusty Santa Ana winds today.

"Very warm and dry conditions will continue into Friday . . . and the models are now hinting that these winds will likely continue into Friday . . . with elevated fire danger.

The warning area includes the valleys of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the Inland Empire, and the mountains on both sides of the Pass, including the Front Country, Mountain Top, and San Jacinto ranger districts of the San Bernardino National Forest.

The red flag warning was in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday with northeast winds 15 to 25 miles per hour and gusts to 45 mph.

"A combination of strong winds . . . low relative humidity . . . above normal temperatures . . . and very low fuel moisture will contribute to extreme fire behavior," the Weather Service advised.

Daytime highs in Beaumont and Banning are expected in the 70s Thursday, Friday and through the weekend.
Libi Uremovic January 16, 2014 at 05:54 PM
the sac area is on 20% mandatory water reduction ....a year where the fire season never ends is very bad news for cali ...
Rob Turmer January 17, 2014 at 02:29 PM
Interesting that we have no real pattern of fires anymore,, now that they locked up Oyler up. Having perps like him still on the loose in this type weather and we'd be in for it big time.
rubberband January 17, 2014 at 07:59 PM
This fire is in MY neck of the woods....we had the "Madison Incident" in Monrovia, and now this one.....I gotta say the helicopter drops are amazing...so accurate. We really need rain. Our mountains are crunchy dry.

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