Fairview Fire update 8th September 2022

[UPDATED Friday 9th September @ 1130: I am currently at San Jacinto Peak having hiked up this morning to observe Tropical Storm Kay, more on this in a subsequent posting. The following photo has probably circulated widely by now, but those of us in the fire lookout community were devastated to learn of the destruction of Red Mountain lookout overnight in the Fairview Fire. While far from surprising given the conditions, it comes as a huge blow to us all.]

Red Mountain, 9th September 2022

[UPDATED Thursday 8th September @ 1930: thankfully nothing significant to report from the Idyllwild-Pine Cove-Mountain Center area. Generally east or south-east winds, the outermost hint of Hurricane Kay perhaps, are pushing smoke and active burn areas away from here. Sadly conditions have deteriorated further in Bautista Canyon, and especially in the south-west quadrant of the fire, which may be exacerbated by high winds (from the east) predicted for tomorrow morning. Total acreage now at 23,900, roughly an additional 5,000 today (so far).]

[UPDATED Thursday 8th September @ 0930: I have just added some photos from our morning hike to Tahquitz Peak, below the more dramatic photos and video from last night.]

Fire acreage was reported near 12,000 on Wednesday afternoon but by 2230 a CalFire estimate put the fire at 19,300 acres.

No evacuation warning or order issued yet for Idyllwild-Pine Cove. Most of the growth overnight has been to the south, broadly speaking, and the immediate threat to Idyllwild-Pine Cove may have passed. However the afternoon is when fire behaviour tends to get vigourous and erratic.

Thankfully Red Mountain Fire Lookout has survived the night, just. There is a livestream from the mountaintop available on YouTube here.

Note that Highway 74 closed on Wednesday night between Valle Vista (east end of Hemet) and Mountain Center (Highway 243 junction).

I recorded the video below on Wednesday evening, 7th September, and have added a couple of still photos also.

The prognosis for the next 24 hours remains poor. Northern Bautista Canyon is largely destroyed and will never be the same again. Recent spread seems to be to the south towards the Sage area.

Hurricane Kay is forecast to arrive on Friday 9th and the rain will hopefully extinguish this fire. It is hard to overlook the irony that in a world with such a rapidly changing climate we may largely depend upon a hurricane to put out a huge wildfire that started during an exceptional heatwave.

Above, looking south-west from Idyllwild, with Red Mountain at the left of the image, dusk on 7th September 2022.
Below, sunset on 7th September 2022 underneath a huge pyrocumulus cloud that developed that afternoon over the fire.

Photos from Tahquitz Peak on Thursday 8th September follow.

Strawberry Valley, where Idyllwild is located, at about 0850 (above) and filling with smoke by 0930 (below), as the local wind flow shifted to the west (it cleared out again as we descended by about 1030).
Garner Valley filling with smoke, as seen from Tahquitz Peak.
The San Jacinto high country as seen from Tahquitz Peak at about 0900 on 8th September 2022. Note the smoke reaching to about 9000 ft elevation in upper Strawberry Valley in the lower left of the image. The clouds were the first hint of Hurricane Kay hundreds of miles to our south-west.

Please stay safe everyone.

3 thoughts on “Fairview Fire update 8th September 2022

    1. No warning or order issued yet. Growth has largely been to the south overnight and the immediate threat to Idyllwild-Pine Cove may have passed. However the afternoons are when the fire behaviour tends to get vigourous and erratic.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s