NewsLocal News


Several San Diego County fire departments help fight growing Apple Fire

Posted at 5:36 PM, Aug 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 20:46:18-04

CHERRY VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) -- The Apple Fire in Riverside County has almost doubled in the last day.

As of 5:00 p.m. Sunday, it has grown to 20,516 acres, with 0% containment. Mandatory evacuations are in place for more than 7,000 people. Authorities believe this may have been caused by arson.

This weekend, multiple San Diego fire agencies are helping fight the Apple Fire. Experts say our local agencies are equipped to support the fight in Riverside and any incidents at home.

The conditions are almost too perfect for the raging Apple Fire.

"Fuel, weather, and topography - All three of those things come together in that part of the state," CAL FIRE San Diego Fire Captain, Issac Sanchez said.

The Apple Fire is burning just north of the city of Beaumont in Riverside County. Sanchez says the flames are relentless, and crews on the ground need all the help they can get.

"Any agency, regardless of their size, cannot handle anything of this nature, in size and complexity," Sanchez said.

Overnight, the fire erupted into the San Bernadino National Forest, which officially made it a federal incident. But multiple local crews from San Diego County are now at ground zero to help.

"It's not just a CAL FIRE show. It's not just a US Forest Service show," Sanchez said. "Everybody is on deck. Everybody is contributing. Everybody is engaged right now."

Some of the local crews assisting in Riverside County include San Diego Fire-Rescue, Poway Fire Department, Coronado Fire Department, and the North County Fire District.

Early Sunday afternoon, maintenance crews were doing final checks for CAL FIRE San Diego's air fleet, stationed at the Ramona Airport. These are valuable assets on stand-by to help attack the flames from above.

ABC 10News learned that just before 3 pm Sunday, one of CAL FIRE San Diego's small tactical planes out of Ramona were dispatched for emergency assistance. It is now guiding large air tankers above the Apple Fire.

But with so many local resources being taken out of the mix, many wonder if we are prepared if something like the Apple Fire erupts now in San Diego county.

"We never will give more than what we can afford to give," Sanchez answered.

Sanchez says allocating resources is carefully calculated. Even if local crews are being good neighbors to assist others, crews here are still ready.

"We can still maintain an aggressive initial attack, and that is absolutely what we will do locally should any fire break out," Sanchez said.

CAL FIRE reminds us that it is vital to be fire ready, especially during these dry, hot summers.