Heard that a fire was burning in the foothills of Calimesa. Supposedly it was started in a chicken coop. Last I heard, it was burning its way towards and into Redlands.
I know that NeoWeird's chicken farm is in Calimesa. Was it one of his ranches that caught fire?
Crossing my fingers that its not!
I'm starting to get worried. I know that Neo has already mentioned that there aren't very many chicken farms left in Calimesa; that they've all been driven away. I'm almost certain that his family farms are some of the last.
Still haven't heard from him, and I know that he checks here frequently.
All is good with my family. That was one of the fires I was talking about in the other topic about shooting being stopped for fear of fires. I didn't think it was as close as Calimesa, though I could be wrong; I just remember looking out past the Yucaipa city limits and seeing it. Luckily for us, we have only one ranch in Calimesa and it is perfectly fine (as far as I know).
While there are few ranches left over there, there a few more as you go out towards Beaumont more, and I THINK this fire was in one of the smaller ranches out that way. I only caught the last little bit of it on the news during my late lunch break and all they had at that time was basically "chicken house caught fire never Riverside county, more today at 5"
I am hoping the familie(s) of those ranchers are ok, especially the workers. California is rapidly losing it's chicken ranch population, which not only effects the less important stuff like prices of not only eggs but anything made with eggs; while at the same time pushes people out of a profession and sometimes their homes and that does not even take into consideration the 5-10 workers minimum per ranch and their familes. I hope they had insurance, especially since there are only 2-3 insurance providers who even consider covering chicken ranches (we have been looking for a new carrier for 2 years and no one will touch us because we are a ranch).
Thanks for the concern, but as you can see, all is well.
Winds fan blazes in I.E.
More than 100 homes threatened
George Watson, Joe Nelson and Gina Tenorio, Staff Writers
Arid, seasonal winds stoked two wildfires locally Wednesday, shutting down a state road while igniting several other dark, smoky blazes across Southern California.
The infamous Santa Ana winds once again breathed dry desert air into the region. Firefighters worked to choke blazes in San Timoteo Canyon and off Highway 38 near the Mill Creek Ranger Station in the hopes of containing them before they grew out of control.
A brush fire in San Timoteo Canyon east of Redlands between Calimesa and Moreno Valley consumed 1,330 acres and threatened about 1,200 more. Firefighters worked to protect 100 homes directly in the line of the blaze, which was named the San Tim Fire, stealing the nickname locals use for the canyon. As of 9 p.m. Wednesday it was 15 percent contained.
Between 60,000 and 90,000 chickens perished in the fire, which started in Coop No. 6, said Steve Nichols, 54, of Arcadia, who owns the MCM Poultry egg ranch and four others in Southern California.
"The fire started here, but we're not sure how," Nichols said. "It just jumped to the next building and to the next building, and it started running out of things to burn. And so it started burning brush, and the winds picked it up and took it west."
Three CDF firefighters from Riverside County stood near the smoldering metal ruins of three 35-foot-by-400-foot chicken coops, hosing down hot spots while a lone chicken milled about.
Though the coops have metal exteriors their interiors are highly combustible, said Morris Bean, a captain with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
"They've got a lot of wood in them wood framing, wood floors, chicken feathers," Bean said. "There were three- to four-foot-high piles of chicken poop that was burning."
Firefighters used a utility road winding across a hill parallel with San Timoteo Canyon Road to attack the blaze, trying to push it back to the main fire on the hill and keep it from destroying about 10 homes east of Redlands Boulevard, CDF Capt. Dave Ferguson said.
"The fire's been creeping down the front here. This is a defensive measure to give us a good clean (fire) line behind these houses," Ferguson said. "We want this line burned off so these houses aren't threatened when the sun goes down."
Genaro Trujillo, 32, moved to his San Timoteo Canyon home only two weeks ago. He was familiar though, with the fire dangers. The professional landscaper had just finished clearing his property Tuesday.
"They told us to get ready, just in case," Trujillo said in Spanish of a message given to him by firefighters standing by to protect the house.
The fire burned closer but, eventually, Trujillo got some good news from authorities.
"They told us it's going to be OK," he said.
The choking, dry conditions are expected to lessen today and through the rest of the week. On Wednesday, winds gusted to 37 mph in Beaumont and 38 mph in Ontario, said National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Vanderberg. Temperatures were in the upper 90s throughout the San Bernardino Valley.
Humidity levels slipped below 20 percent Wednesday, which, along with the Santa Anas, signals a clear sign of heightened wildfire dangers. Some vegetation actually becomes drier from the whipping winds, turning already brown grasses and oil-laden bushes into perfect fuel for a hungry fire.
"It's about as dry as we normally get this time of year," said Ron Hamilton,
meteorologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Southern Operations office in Moreno Valley.
Last week's rain, which at the most came to half an inch, has dried up by now, Hamilton said.
Conditions on Wednesday were more moderate than those encountered shortly before the Old Fire of October 2003, he added.
"There was no rain then during the summer, and there was real hot weather in October, several days of 100 degrees, leading up to it," Hamilton said. "This September, I don't think we have had any 100-degree days until (Wednesday)."
The wildfire near the Mill Creek Ranger Station, named the Hatchery Fire, ignited at 12:42 p.m. and burned about 225 acres of brush, weeds and grass. It was fully contained at 4:52 p.m.
Authorities shut down Highway 38 because of the blaze, and with Highway 330 being closed until 6:30 p.m. Wednesday for paving, the only route up and down the San Bernardino Mountains was Highway 18.
The fire burned through the rock-strewn wash near the road as firefighters traveled along Highway 38, spraying water to extinguish the flames.
About 2:15 p.m. the wildfire jumped the highway, igniting a grassy patch. Firefighters went into action, digging up vegetation and, in one case, using chain saws to cut up a flaming wooden fence. A helicopter arrived, dousing the fire with water and eventually leading to its containment at 3:20 p.m.
Authorities stopped two buses from the Temecula Valley Unified School District carrying 115 students on their way to Big Bear City for a cross-country meet. The buses pulled into the Mill Creek Ranger Station, where they waited.
"When we got here, the fire was already to the road and they told us to pull into here," said Daniel Noble, coach of the Great Oak High School team. "We're trying to get them out here in fresh air, or kind of fresh air."
A half-dozen students became nauseated from the smoke and received medical attention.
Elsewhere in Southern California, two fires erupted in the Chatsworth area on the northwestern edge of Los Angeles. Another blaze ignited to the west, in the Moorpark area of Ventura County, burned near a college, hillside homes and a golf course.
Some 120 firefighters and three helicopters battled the blaze on both sides of Highway 118 Chatsworth at the west end of the San Fernando Valley. The freeway was closed to traffic as the fire grew to more than 100 acres.
The fire threatened about 70 homes as flames spread west toward the suburban community of Chatsworth Lake Manor, fire officials said. One firefighter was struck on the head by a rock and was taken to a hospital, f ire Capt. Milton Urquilla said.
That's sad to hear
Mil Creek Ranger station is the turn off you must take to go to Yucaipa instead of going into the mountains. I drive that road twice a day, and I drove through that area litterally minutes after the fire was put out; most of the guys were sitting on the sidewalk panting and sweating and you could still see foam in places and the ground was smoking everywhere.
Steve Nichols is a guy who owns Nichols Ranch (I am assuming). It's one of the more decent and hard working ranches in the area, and sadly, it has fallen on hard times. We've done business with them, and I think I may have even met him momentarily a year or so ago (I usually am doing work, while my parents are doing the meeting so to actually be introduced to someone big in the bussiness usually means 'this guy is good, we do bussiness with him and he is trustworthy, remember that when you take over' and if that's true, he is the type of guy whose handshake is better than any contract you could ever write.
60-90k isn't horrible. That's a fairly small ranch: maybe 3 acres or so. To give you an idea, Sunnycal, which is in Beaumont (roughly 10-15 minute drive from the fire), had 1.2 million when it started to close a month or so ago. Our biggest ranch has about 600k followed up by our ranch in highland with 300k (and several other sporadic ones in the area). It's still a losing situation.
Christmas time coming up, losing a good portion of the chicken population in socal to sellings, this fire...you can expect egg prices to go up (though you people will probably never see a price change). We however will probably slammed with a VERY rocky winter/spring.
From radio station KFWB 980AM
Yep, when you get a lot of stuff together, it decomposes and generates beaucoup amount of heat, like a compost pile of leaves. On a huge compost pile of leaves(50sq yards etc), if you don't keep it wet, it could erupt in a fire with open flames because the heat generated in the composting process is so great. I once did a very small compost pile in my backyard, and it generated 160°F temps in the middle of winter when the outside was in the 40s. I measure the temps with a long-stemmed therometer.
Have you ever felt a bag of steer manure at the local Home Depot, it is warm to the touch, the composting is not completed, and it is still composting. The owners of the manure wanted to make money as quickly possible by getting the manure out before it is completely composting.
There'd be looting if the fires were in Watts or south central.
Driving home from work earlier, I saw a big smoke cloud over the hills. Thankfully the winds stopped, the fires could easily (and did before) cross the caynons and hit Malibu
About 3 years ago the fires in the valley started a local fire near me, water dropping helos and planes were on it in minutes. Having lived in Malibu since 84 and gone through 3 or 4 major fires, I have nothing but absolute admiration for the firefighters. I don't trust the average police department to do jack shit for people in crisis, but I have the utmost confidence in the firefighters.
Neo, good to hear that you and your property are safe and intact.
Lucky you, we have a whopping 5% containment. I think they are letting some of the overgrowth just burn off, which it hasn't done in years.
Yeah, manure (especially chicken from what I hear) is INSANELY combustable. We regularly get fires on our manure pad, which is essentially a barren acre or so that has been compressed down to prevent water from pulling potentially hazardous chemicals from the manure into underground water sources. We turn our manure with a big Cat tractor. As I understand it, the bacteria that decomposses the manure is anerobic and needs to have a no oxygen enviornment for proper decompossition. By turning the manure we not only get oxygen to the inner levels which promotes a slower but safer decomposition but also releases a lot of heat. I remember walking outside and it was probably just a few degrees above freezing, but the manure piles were steaming and you could put your hands over them to stay warm. That was the first time I had ever seen the fire actually start on the piles (had seem them before, but never seen them start). Quite a site.
You may also remember that in the Oklahoma bombing a few years back, it was a moving truck filled with fertazlier as the main explosive componet. I believe it is Sodium Carbonate that contains the proper elements to make the explosive reaction, though I could be wrong.
ETA: From what I heard, the ranch was in the middle of being converted from a caged house to a free range (chickens on the grounds able to walk wherever they want). So there may not have been 'operational' yet, but there were still chickens that lost their lives.