A major fire burned the home of Idyllwild businessman Shane Stewart Wednesday night, April 11. The large home was engulfed in flames for hours. No one was inside and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Firemen from Idyllwild Fire and four Riverside County stations (23, 53, 63 and 72) helped battle the blaze. The Incident Commander was Idyllwild Capt. Alan Lott.

Incident Commander Idyllwild Fire Capt. Alan Lott

The firefighters tried to quell the fire with two lines shooting water from the rear and another from the top of Idyllwild’s ladder truck. About 9:45 p.m., firefighters stepped several feet back from the house to be sure there was no danger of the structure collapsing, according to Idyllwild Capt. James Reyes.

Six engines and at least 29 firefighters were involved. The fire was named the Howland Fire for the street the house was on.

Capt. Lott (right) with homeowner Share Stewart

Photos by J.P. Crumrine © Idyllwild Town Crier


  1. very sad indeed. glad no one was hurt, human life is not replaceable. Thank you to the firemen from all depts (Six engines and at least 29 firefighters were involved) that joined in before this fire expanded. Also thank you to reporter J.P. Crumrine for the photos and the article.

    It's too early to tell, but I'm always interested in a follow-up article on the the root cause, and any lessons learned for future prevention.

  2. Dear Shane & Ashley,

    My heart goes out to you, & your family. Been in roughly the same situation & the best advice I got was: "Time to start making NEW memories." Take care of yourselves!

    <3 Barbara

  3. Dear Idyllwild Community,
    I have been assigned to aid in the fire investigation for this fire. I am very glad to hear that no one was hurt and that no other homes were involved. A special thank you to the firefighters for all the work they do keeping us safe. Can anyone tell me about the weather in your community on the evening of the fire (4/11/12)? What was approximate temperature outside? What was the approximate wind direction and speed? Does anyone have any photos of this home prior to the fire? This information will be very helpful in the investigation into the cause of the fire. Please feel free to contact me with any information that you may have regarding this fire. Thank you for your assistance.

    Ken Bousquet, Engineer
    [email protected] http://www.4xforensic.com

  4. Ken, there are a couple of remote weather stations that may help you out:

    CW 7408 Fern Valley this is the closest to the incident

    CW4878 Pine Cove this is slightly higher elevation but generally upstream of normal wind patterns

    I am sorta curious as to why you would not be aware of these resources available to you, unless you think there may be a weather geek nearby that may have better data.

    • Thank you Dan for the weather info. The closest weather data I was able to find prior to your suggestion was out of Palm Springs, but I knew that wouldn't suffice. In the small town I grew up in, the local high school had a weather and news center that was most accurate for our town. I know to ask the community because they know where to find the best data for their area. Thanks again for your help.

      Ken Bousquet

  5. I want to thank eveyone for the kind offers, e-mails and support during this challenge. It is truly appreciated. We are aggressivly moving forward to getting back to normal and are in the process of meeting with the vendors next week to imedately start rebuilding. We also want everyone to know that we will be trying to use mostly local vendors to accomplish this large task!

    Thanks again for all of your continued support.

    Shane & Ashley Stewart

  6. Also any photos of Wednesday night prior to Idy Fire showing up at the house please provide them to both myself and Ken two comments up as he will determine the cause and I will have the Town Crier publish this for all to see so that you might be able to prevnet this tragic event in your property. As the opinion to date from Idy Fire is that a squirrel ate into an electric line causing the fire to start in the 6" high attic space over the living room 30" up.

    Also if anyone has photos of my home interior over the years please share them with both of us.

    Thanks again
    Shane & Ashley Stewart

    Thanks for your help

  7. Thanks from the bottoom of our hearts for all the positive support. This is all overwhelming and will take a lot to put back together again. We are so blessed to be a part of this unique and wonderful Idyllwild Community. Thanks again and again to all that have sent their possitive support from all the Stewart family.

  8. I may be wrong, but wasn't this home in a major magazine, pictures inside and out? Sunset or Better Homes and Garden's? 10,000 Sq Ft?
    We lost a home to fire in Palm Desert, it is a terrible experience, and loss of things that can never be replaced. So glad that Shane, Ashley, and kids are fine.

  9. It is a tragedy and the saddest day often of family's life to lose their home along with all of their possessions in a fire such as the Stewart family did on April 11, 2012. We should all be thankful that there were no deaths or injuries to any persons as a result of this fire. While we see what damage fire can do it cannot be emphasized enough particularly after something as horrific as this fire occurred to be very thorough in clearing brush and dead vegetation away from any structures as to minimize the accessibility a fire will take.
    We all should be grateful that Captain Alan Lott and the Idyllwild Fire Department along with aid from the neighboring CALFire crews were able to contain the fire to just that structure and not lose the rest of the trees and other vegetation adjacent. This is a prime example of the benefit of familiarity of the streets and geography are when you have your own fire protection district such as Idyllwild has been fortunate to have since 1946. Homes can be rebuilt, but it takes decades to replace majestic tall trees and forests such as Idyllwild is nestled amongst.