Editor's note: This meeting occurred at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, before the fire crossed Rouse Ridge.
Officials assigned to the unified command for the Fairview Fire, which was first reported in East Hemet on Monday, Sept. 5 at 3:37 p.m., spoke to the public this evening at the Riverside County Fire Station 52 in Garner Valley.
Dozens of community members attended.
At the time of the meeting the fire had grown to 9,846 acres and was 5% contained. There were 962 personnel assigned to fight.
Just after the meeting, which started at 6 p.m., a CalFire alert was issued increasing the fire footprint to 11,500 acres. There were additional evacuation orders for those living near Highway 74 and Marshall Avenue in Hemet with that alert.
Ryan Lubben, the lead public information officer (PIO), explained that unified command was established once the fire crossed Bautista Canyon Road.
He explained that crews worked all day to create a larger fire break on Rouse Ridge.
When asked about the weather forecast for Thursday and Friday, with Hurricane Kay over the Pacific Ocean bringing heavy winds and rain, U.S. Forest Service Fire Chief Salvador Reyes responded: “We’re expecting similar conditions tomorrow as today and yesterday, but Friday there’s basically going to be a shift.
“Hopefully, and potentially, we are going to get some moisture over the fire area … what comes in front of moisture is wind,” Reyes explained that the wind could be unpredictable and that the conditions are going to be extreme. He explained that resources would be used accordingly.
“Every single person we’re protecting and have interest in is just as important and that increased responsibility, on us, which we all accepted as our jobs and positions ... That’s why we’re increasing personnel, we’re increasing plans, the organizational structure around the fire … we’re increasing that, we’re essentially creating a more complex incident for ourselves in preparation for what you just asked about. Hopefully that complexity we’re creating for ourselves allows us to handle.”
Riverside County Fire Chief Bill Weiser explained that meteorologists have been directly assigned to the incident.
Lubben said Cal Fire is working to improve communications with the public using social media and alert systems. He also said there will be more PIOs assigned to the incident to have a presence in the communities surrounding the fire.
Riverside County Sheriff Captain and incoming Hemet substation Commander Mark Rigali spoke about the importance of taking evacuation orders seriously. He said that when an area is evacuated his officers are “proactive” about protecting property from those who would “take advantage” of the situation.
He also encouraged residents to visit readyforwildfire.org and the “Ready, Set, Go,” section for evacuation information. He also encouraged people to visit RVCFire.org, fire.ca.gov, and inci.web; and alert.rivco.org is where you can go to sign up for smart phone alerts, as well as rivcoready.org.