Sheep fire in San Gabriel Mountains 27% contained as firefighters again face windy weather

The Sheep fire that broke out over the weekend in the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood had devoured about 990 acres by Monday afternoon as firefighters reached further containment on the blaze after attacking it on the ground and from the air.

Around noon on Monday the figures for the fire stood at 939 acres and 5%  containment, but that was updated by the U.S. Forest Service in the afternoon to about 990 acres and 18% containment. By 9:20 p.m., containment had grown to 27%, fire agencies announced.

Joshua trees are burned after the Sheep fire swept through, Monday, June 13, 2022, in Wrightwood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Joshua trees are burned after the Sheep fire swept through, Monday, June 13, 2022, in Wrightwood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A charred landscape is seen after the Sheep fire swept through Monday, June 13, 2022, in Wrightwood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A SoCal Edison worker fixes the power lines that were damaged from the Sheep Fire burning in Wrightwood, Calif., Sunday, June 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

A helicopter drops water on the Sheep Fire burning in Wrightwood, Calif., Sunday, June 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

A firefighter watches as the Sheep Fire burns in Wrightwood, Calif., Sunday, June 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Members of hand crew work on a fire line during the Sheep fire burning in Wrightwood, Calif., Monday, June 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The Sheep fire burns near homes in Wrightwood, Calif., Monday, June 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The Sheep fire burns in Wrightwood, Calif., Sunday, June 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Residents watch as smoke rises from the Sheep Fire burning in Wrightwood, Calif., Sunday, June 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

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The updated acreage is due to recent infrared mapping capabilities,  Angeles National Forest officials said.

Roughly 300 people were evacuated from near the fire area on Sunday, said Dana Dierkes, a spokeswoman for the Angeles National Forest.

San Bernardino County Fire Department officials said in their afternoon update that weather conditions had so far been “favorable” Monday in terms of high temperatures and winds. The area around the fire reached a high temperature of 76 degrees and had wind gusts between 20 to 25 mph throughout the day Monday, according to Dan Gregoria, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

However, Gregorio said that an increased wind shift was expected from around 10 p.m. Monday that was bringing a level of “concern.” Winds had been so far blowing from the west, but the shift is expected to bring dry desert air in from the north, possibly driving the fire in a different direction, Gregorio said.

“Relative humidity is going to be dropping; that’s not good for the fire,” Gregorio said.

Peak wind gusts were expected to be around 25 mph around 10 p.m., the meteorologist said.

The NWS put a wind advisory in place for the nearby San Bernardino County mountains at 6 p.m. Monday and it was expected to remain in place until 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 14, the weather service said in its weekly weather briefing. Wind gusts between 20 to 30 mph were expected, with occasional gusts as high as 50 mph, the NWS said.

Elevated fire weather conditions were expected to persist each afternoon throughout the week in the desert and desert-adjacent mountain slopes, the weather service said.

The Sheep fire, which started Saturday night near the Sheep Creek area in the forest, is burning in the forest and in private land. By Saturday night the fire burned 35 acres. On a hot and windy Sunday, the fire grew to more than 900 acres.

RELATED: Map shows Sheep fire evacuations and location in the San Gabriel Mountains

Authorities have not yet determined the cause of the blaze. No structures have been damaged, Dierkes said.

Fighting the fire has been especially challenging due to dense vegetation, steep terrain, and high and erratic winds, she said.

Highway 2, Angeles Crest Highway, was closed from Highway 138 to Wright Mountain Road near Wrightwood, Caltrans maps showed.

Cal Fire was planning on taking an updated measurement of the blaze’s acreage Monday evening by flying a plane around the fire’s perimeter with GPS-like equipment, said Allison Hesterly, spokeswoman for Cal Fire. Hesterly said she wasn’t expecting a significant change in the fire’s size Monday afternoon.

Evacuation orders remain in place for Desert Front Road and Wild Horse Canyon and in the Wrightwood area from Highway 2 south to Lone Pine Canyon Road as well as Wright Mountain Road to Sheep Creek Drive, according to Mara Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The rest of Wrightwood is still under an evacuation warning, she added.

Serrano High School at 9292 Sheep Creek Road in Phelan was established as an evacuation center, Rodriguez said.

The Devore Animal Shelter at 19777 Shelter Way was taking small animals while the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds at 14800 7th Street in Victorville will be available for large animals and livestock, she said.

Before heading to either location, authorities asked evacuees to call the San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control in advance at 1-800-472-5609.

On Monday afternoon, a smoke advisory was issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District for the foothill and mountain regions of San Bernardino County adjacent to the San Gabriel Mountains and the Sheep fire area. Smoky conditions were visible from foothill communities such as Rancho Cucamonga and Upland.

SMOKE ADVISORY: #SheepFire burning near #Wrightwood is affecting air quality: https://t.co/Y158OoPtBX

Información en español: https://t.co/ctPFfWWfN8South Coast AQMD emite un aviso de humo por el incendio forestral cerca de Wrightwood pic.twitter.com/DwG8POXUZb

— South Coast AQMD (@SouthCoastAQMD) June 13, 2022

 

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