As of Saturday night (August 8)

From Unified Fire Management

Current Situation: Fire activity was minimal today, with no forward progression of the perimeter. There were some areas of increased fire activity as interior islands of unburned fuel continued to burn. Smoke impacts were greatly reduced today, compared to Friday afternoon. 

Firefighters continued to conduct mop-up operations in the Millard Canyon area today, using water tenders to supply water for firefighters. Mop-up consists of looking for areas of flame and heat that are near the perimeter of the fire and making sure that they are extinguished; similar to stirring your campfire to make sure it is cold. This evening, firefighters on night shift will continue with mop-up and will patrol the fire edges. 

One 10-person Wildland Fire Module was inserted in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. They began to scout the area, looking for opportunities to use natural barriers to serve as containment lines. An additional module will be inserted tomorrow, working towards the east. 

As progress continues on fire containment lines, resources that are no longer needed will be released from the incident over the next several days. Strike teams of engines that were utilized on the southern and western flanks will be reduced in number, but enough will remain to ensure adequate coverage. 

Evacuations / Closures: In Riverside County Evacuation Warnings are in effect for the following: 

• all areas east of Potrero Road, north of Morongo Road, west of Whitewater Canyon and south of the San Bernardino County Line 

• all areas west of HWY 62, north of Interstate 10, South of the San Bernardino county line and east of Whitewater Canyon 

Riverside County residents: please visit for an interactive map that will allow you to enter your address to determine if you are within these evacuation warning areas. 

In San Bernardino County Evacuation Warnings are in effect for the following areas: 

• Forest Falls, Pioneertown, Rimrock, and the community of Morongo Valley, including both sides of Highway 62 

San Bernardino County residents: please visit to sign up for emergency alerts for your area. 


Firefighters held another informational briefing about the Apple fire Friday evening in Morongo Valley, drawing a crowd of nearly 300 people, including representatives from the County Fire Department, CalFire, the County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service to name a few. During the briefing, Operations Section Chief Pat Russel gave an overview of the current containment of the fire, saying that fire crews were successfully able to hold the fire in Millard Canyon approximately 10 miles away from Morongo Valley through coordinated firing operations. With efforts to contain the fire proving successful, Chief Russel was optimistic about fully containing the fire.

Operations Section Chief Pat Russel giving an overview of the containment of the Apple fire during Friday’s briefing

“Very Successful day today, very successful day tomorrow. The fire is looking much better and it’s sitting right where we want it with where the fire was when we got here.”

Morongo Valley, Pioneertown and Rimrock residents will remain under the current evacuation warning until further notice. CalFire Riverside unit Chief Todd Hopkins said this is out of an abundance of caution.

CalFire Riverside unit Chief Todd Hopkins explaining the current evacuation warning for the area to Morongo Valley residents during Friday’s briefing.

“Even though we are looking really good…we need you to be prepared just in case something were to happen and it [the fire] gets out here in the grasses and starts a run towards your community.”

Updated map of the Apple fire used during the Friday afternoon briefing

According to Nickie Johnny of the Incident Management Team 2, the Apple fire is currently the number 1 priority fire in the state of California with more than 2,600 people working to put it out. A link to the full Morongo Valley briefing video is available below.


A Palm Springs man was injured following a suspected drunk driving crash in Morongo Valley early Thursday morning. According to the California Highway Patrol, Joshua Frankel, 44, was driving a black 2017 Kia Sorrento eastbound on Highway 62. Just after 1 a.m., Frankel crashed into the left rear of a 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis, driven by Monica Sanchez, 21, of Joshua Tree, east of Sundown Trail. Frankel’s Kia rolled over following the crash, and Morongo Valley firefighters had to extricate him from his car. Joshua Frankel was taken by Morongo Basin Ambulance to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs with moderate to major injuries. Due to the extent of his injuries, he was cited and released at the hospital for investigation of driving under the influence causing injury; the case will be referred to the District Attorney’s office for review.


A Yucca Valley convicted felon was arrested Thursday, after he was found with a firearm. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies assisted probation officers on a compliance check at the home of Charles McAaron, 41, in the 7200 block of Sunny Place in Yucca Valley about 1:30 Thursday afternoon. Deputies discovered a firearm within arm’s reach of McAaron. Charles McAaron was arrested on investigation of being a felon in possession of a firearm and was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $50,000.


As doctors and health experts have become more familiar with the characteristics of disease, their advice has changed on how people can protect themselves. Such is the case with COVID-19 and wearing a mask or facial covering. At the beginning of the pandemic, when mask supplies were very low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that only health care professionals wear masks. As doctors and researchers learned more about the coronavirus, they came to change their recommendations about wearing masks. Managing editor Tami Roleff has more information about wearing a mask in the time of COVID-19…

Cloth masks can help protect others nearby by preventing contaminated droplets from being dispersed by the wearer when breathing or talking. San Bernardino County photo

Doctors have learned that people who aren’t showing any symptoms can spread the virus as they move about in public. Cloth masks can help protect others nearby by preventing contaminated droplets from being dispersed by the wearer when breathing or talking.

“Masks work. We’ve known this for over a hundred years. Masks reduce the transmission of virus, bottom line.”

Dr. Troy Pennington, an emergency room physician at Arrowhead Medical Center, said there have been more than 170 studies that have been published recently that show that masks and facial coverings reduce the spread of COVID-19. San Bernardino County photo

Dr. Troy Pennington, an emergency room physician at Arrowhead Medical Center, said there have been more than 170 studies that have been published recently that show that masks and facial coverings reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control notes that wearing a mask is not a substitute for handwashing and social distancing, which are effective measures to reduce risk. And first and foremost, staying at home is still the best strategy for preventing the spread of coronavirus.

“Coughs and sneezes spread diseases; please mask it.”