Monrovia, Bradbury Threatened by Persistent Fire in Duarte

The Reservoir Fire burned quickly in the foothills above Azusa Monday, June 20. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Some progress has been made with the two large brush fires that have been burning for nearly 24 hours in the foothill above Azusa and Duarte.

The fires have been renamed the San Gabriel Complex, both the Fish Fire and Reservoir Fire have burned a combined 5,400 acres; 3,000 from the Fish Fire and 2,400 from the Reservoir Fire, said Mike Wakowski, incident commander with Southern California Team 3.

No containment has been reached yet.

“We’re a little short of resources because of the fire up north and the fire down south, but we are getting resources in as we speak,” Wakowski said.

Crews may be fully staffed within the next 24 hours.

Incident Management Team 3 from the U.S. Forest Service has taken over coordination of the fire fight at 6 a.m. Tuesday and are operating in unified command with the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Sheriff’s Department.

Approximately 770 Duarte homes were evacuated, above Royal Oaks Drive, west of Encanto Parkway and east of Mount Olive Drive, said Commander David Halm of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Approximately 80 deputies have been deployed in the area near the Fish Fire to help with evacuations and provide security for evacuated homes, Halm said.

69 residents of Camp Williams, Heater Flats, Burro Canyon, Crystal Lake and the Coldbrook Campgrounds  in the San Gabriel Mountains have been evacuated.

Deputies with the help of the California Highway Patrol have shut down Glendora Mountain Road at Big Dalton Road and Glendora Ridge Road at Mt. Baldy Road.

Chief Robert Garcia of the U.S. Forest Service confirmed at least one person died in the solo crash that caused the Reservoir Fire Monday morning. The vehicle rolled down an embankment several hundred feet off Highway 39.

168 horses have been evacuated from the Fish Fire. Large animals can be taken to the Pomona Fairplex, Gate 12.

Tremendous progress on the east side of the Fish Fire was made Monday night, but the remaining and biggest threat is fire on the west flank. While helicopters were able to slow down the advance of the west flank, it remains very uncontrolled, said Deputy Chief John Tripp of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Communities west of the Fish Fire, specifically Bradbury and Monrovia, are still threatened.

“We need everybody in those areas to … have their wildfire action plan to be ready, set and go,” Tripp said, emphasizing to evacuate early when an evacuation area is declared.

Approximately 610 personnel are battling the fire, with 20 hand crews, 12 helicopters, 71 engines, nine water tenders and 11 other aircraft, Wakowski said.

A temporary fight restriction remains in place, specifically to keep drones out of the way of firefighting aircraft.

The fires continue to burn in steep, rugged terrain in old fuel beds that have not burned in years. Hot, dry weather persists with a drought-stressed fuel bed, Garcia said.

“Conditions are very unfavorable for initial attack,” Garcia said.

The biggest threat occurred in communities where evacuations took place, Tripp said.

Fire on the hillsides above the threatened structures creeped down overnight to the bottom of the slope behind houses in the hillside communities, Tripp said. Firefighters initiated structure protection measures to extinguish the flames.

The U.S. Forest Service continues to investigate the cause of the Fish Fire.