Illegal campfire sparked Rancho Cucamonga's Etiwanda Fire

Flames from the wind driven Etiwanda fire burn through a fence on April 30, 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga.
Flames from the wind driven Etiwanda fire burn through a fence on April 30, 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga.
Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

Update 6:59 p.m. 98 percent containment 

The Etiwanda fire is 98 percent containted, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

No significant fire behavior was observed Tuesday and the fire consists of smoldering remnants, the U.S. Forest Service said in an online incident report. 

Update 10:23 a.m. The Etiwanda Fire is expected to be fully contained in the next day or two, the U.S. Forest Service's Carol Underhill tells KPCC.

The Etiwanda Fire has burned 2,143 acres and investigators believe the fire was caused by an illegal campfire, Underhill said.

“We believe it’s an illegal campfire. Investigators hiked into the origin of the fire once it was safe to do so and they found the remains of a smoldering campfire,” said Underhill. "They believe it had been smoldering for several days before the winds picked up and blew hot embers into the brush surrounding the area."

Fire Tracker

Rules prohibit campfires at places that are not designated campgrounds or picnic areas, according to Underhill.

The fire is at 96 percent containment, with the assistance of lower winds, Underhill said. She also noted there's a 50 percent chance of showers Tuesday, which should help.

Underhill said that someone charged with starting an illegal campfire could face $100 to $5,000 in fines or one year in jail. They may also be responsible for fire suppression costs, according to Underhill.

The public is asked to call anonymous tip line 1-800-472-7766 with any tips on who started the fire, Underhill said.

“Following up on any leads, we've asked the public if they were in that area or saw any hikers during the week leading up to the fire to call the anonymous tip line.”

The three men charged with starting a fire that led to the Colby Fire are scheduled to be tried later this month in two separate trials.

Ashley Bailey

Previously: Investigators say an illegal campfire sparked a 2,143-acre blaze that prompted the evacuation of Southern California foothill homes last week.

San Bernardino National Forest spokeswoman Carol Underhill said Monday the campfire had likely been smoldering for a few days before winds blew its embers into the brush, sparking the wildfire on April 30.

The blaze on the outskirts of Rancho Cucamonga was 96 percent contained Monday evening.

The fire, fanned by fierce winds, chewed through dry grass and chaparral, leading to evacuation orders for about 1,600 homes. No structures burned.

Anyone who may have seen hikers in the area last week is asked to call investigators.

— The Associated Press

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the containment percentage for the Etiwanda Fire. KPCC regrets the error.