Results can take a few days, he said, to as long as two months. It took just days for officials to determine that downed power lines caused the Grass Valley Fire. Richard Minnich, a UC Riverside professor of fire ecology, doesn’t understand why it’s taken so long. An hour after the Slide Fire ignited around 8 a.m., Minnich said it was likely started from remnants of Butler II. On Friday, Minnich remained convinced. “It’s the Butler III Fire, not the Slide Fire,” Minnich said. “It took off almost exactly from the point that Butler II stopped. It’s improbable that a fire would start right next to where another fire was burning just a month ago.” According to scanner traffic that morning, the fire started on or near a U.S. Forest Service road known as 2N13. That road is next to the border where Butler II stopped and the Slide Fire started. In fact, the area dividing the two is a nearly 2-mile stretch of land, as depicted on a Forest Service map displaying wildfires in recent years. Dietrich said the Slide Fire started near Butler II’s westernmost footprint. But he would not say how near. “(Investigators) are still looking at all the causes,” Dietrich said. “I really don’t know what they are looking at. They don’t show it to us, which makes sense. You don’t want to compromise the investigation.” Minnich said firefighters shouldn’t worry about being blamed if the Slide Fire’s cause is found to be the burning remains of Butler II. “This is absolutely normal,” Minnich said. “They shouldn’t blame themselves.” Some wildfires used to burn for an entire summer, Minnich said. Historical records dating back to the 1860s show that at least one wildfire burned every year through the entire summer, he said. Fires can be sustained for many weeks, long after the flames have been extinguished. Remnants of a blaze will smolder inside trees and deep within the roots. All it takes is a strong wind to breath life into some embers buried in a tree and a wildfire can be off and running. “It’s paramount that people are here and are putting out the smokes,” said Forest Service Capt. Bill Molnar, who leads a team in the San Bernardino National Forest. “And we have all these resources – now.” Resources were stretched thin when the Slide and Grass Valley fires devastated nearly 15,000 acres of forest because six other counties were burning. Altogether, the two fires destroyed 450 homes, which the county Assessor’s Office figures will cost $155.7 million to rebuild. Now, resources above and beyond the norm are being offered to ensure the blaze is out in coming weeks. Rain or snow would be ideal, fire officials said, but they’re settling for top-notch technology and increased ranks. Firefighters with thermal imaging cameras are trekking through the burn zone. Helicopters are using infrared to create maps guiding crews to hot spots. About 1,500 firefighters from California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado have worked 16-hour shifts for nearly two weeks to mop up the mountain fires. Some walk the perimeter, dousing hot spots and using 3,000 feet of hose to drench any smoking tree limbs. Others are responsible for cutting down hollowed-out trees known as “widow makers” because of the crushing force with which they fall to the earth. On Friday, five members of a crew from the Plumas National Forest grabbed their dirt-covered shovels and spread out down a steep hill near Deer Springs Mountain Retreat in Running Springs. It was the second time in hours they’d covered this ground. They lined up about 100 feet apart, and each slipped off one stained white glove. With a nod from the crew’s engineer, the weary firefighters began trudging through the ash and blackened dirt, swinging their shovels every few feet. “This is the dirty part,” said Capt. Frank Pingiczer. “It’s monotonous and filthy.” He lifted the soil waist-high and laid the back of his left hand on the cool dirt before letting it sprinkle back to the ground. When someone stumbles across a hot spot, he yells “halt!” to the rest of the crew and pulls a 45-pound backpack pump out to drench the embers with water. Then it’s back to the grind – but it’s a grind each crew member knows is critical. Explained Pingiczer, “Just because it looks good – you don’t see any smoke columns or aircraft making drops – doesn’t mean there’s not that potential to rekindle, and we plan on being vigilant.” [email protected] (909) 386-3884 [email protected] (909) 386-3887160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre “We’re increasing our efforts beyond what we had, and we will continue to do that,” Dietrich said. “We collectively cannot afford even the potential of another fire starting. We’re working really hard to make sure nothing happens. “Nothing’s guaranteed, but we are doing our best.” Dietrich added that fire officials made a similar order after the Butler II wildfire, which burned about 14,000 acres in September. He estimated that they had doubled or tripled “our mop-up standards” after that blaze – the cause of which is still under investigation. That fire started Sept. 14. Dietrich said it’s not unusual that investigators have yet to determine the cause of Butler II, let alone the Slide Fire that ignited Oct. 22. SAN BERNARDINO – As many as 1,000 firefighters spent their weekend in the San Bernardino Mountains, stamping out the remnants of two recent wildfires while waiting for a call no one wants to be made. Officials had decided to stockpile an army of firefighters in case they had to be called to stop any new wildfires. Weather forecasters had called for Santa Ana winds to hit the region over the weekend. Although this batch of winds was expected to be weaker than those that spurred the recent Slide and Grass Valley fires, any wind has the capability to let loose another blaze. It’s an unprecedented response here in the aftermath of a fire, said Chief Mike Dietrich of the San Bernardino National Forest’s Fire Department.