Wildfire News

10TH ANNIVERSARY OF COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY GETS CHILLY JULIAN RECEPTION

 

By Ken Stone, originally published at Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

June 18, 2018 (Julian) - Julian residents Lori Foss and Patricia Van Natta stood quietly in a heating-up helicopter hangar Thursday, watching their East County supervisor and Cal Fire chief boast of backcountry fire readiness.

INMATE FIREFIGHTER, ESCAPED FROM MCCAIN VALLEY CAMP, IS BACK IN CUSTODY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2018 (McCain Valley) – An inmate firefighter last seen in his bunk last Tuesday night at the McCain Valley Conservation Camp in East County was taken into custody Friday night, the California Department of Corrections has announced.

JULIAN FIREFIGHTER ASSOCIATION HOSTS SPAGHETTI FUNDRAISER JUNE 16 AT FIRE HOUSE MUSEUM IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 11, 2018 (Julian/San Diego) – The Julian Firefighter Association invites you to a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Saturday, June 16th at the Fire House Museum (1572 Columbia St.) in downtown San Diego’s Little Italy district.  Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m. at an evening that honors Fire Captain Dave Southcott and other volunteers.

BRUSH FIRE IN CAMPO

 

Update June 12, 2018 9:45 a.m. -- Church Road is reopened. The fire is 70% contained with forward spread stopped.

Update 7 p.m.:  Cal Fire reports the Church Fire is actually 2 fires, one that burned 9 acres and the other a spot fire at one acre. Forward spread has been stopped and the combined blaze is 30% contained.  Church Road remains closed from Highway 94 to Old Highway 80. One structure has been threatened and the resident self-evacuated. Crews remain on scene mopping up the fires.

June 11, 2018 (Campo) 3:25 p.m. -- Cal Fire reports a 4 acre brush fire, #ChurchIC, in Campo.

CHP has ordered a closure of Church Road at Old Highway 80, where the fire was reported a short time ago near the Golden Acorn Casino. The incident commander reports a structural threat and says the fire is burning at a moderate rate of spread.

DANGEROUS BEACH CONDITIONS

 

East County News Service

 

June 9, 2018 (San Diego) - The National Weather Service has issued a warning advising that a Southern Hemisphere swell will arrive at local beaches this weekend, peaking Sunday through Tuesday.   This will pose a hazard to beach goers, creating strong surf.  Arrows on this map, provided by forecaster Alexander Tardy, shows the broad swatch of south swell west of Hurricane Aletta off the Pacific Coast.

CAL FIRE: 12 NORTHERN CA WILDFIRES CAUSED BY PG&E POWER LINES: EIGHT CASES SENT TO DISTRICT ATTORNEYS FOR ALLEGED CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS

 

East County News Service

June 8, 2018 (Sacramento) -- After extensive and thorough investigations, CAL FIRE investigators have determined that 12 Northern California wildfires in the October 2017 Fire Siege were caused by electric power and distribution lines, conductors and the failure of power poles. Cal Fire has referred cases in eight fires to local District Attorneys to consider criminal prosecutions.

CAL FIRE MAKES ONE OF THE LARGEST ILLEGAL FIREWORKS SEIZURES IN STATE HISTORY

 

Source:  Cal Fire

June 7, 2018 (Sacramento) - With the Fourth of July Holiday just around the corner, CAL FIRE announced one of the largest seizures of illegal fireworks in state history today.

Following a months long investigation, CAL FIRE law enforcement officers arrested seven individuals and seized over 49,000 pounds of fireworks over the past two weeks in connection to a large-scale illegal firework ring. Law enforcement officers found these suspects have been illegally importing, transporting, storing, distributing and selling illegal and dangerous fireworks throughout California for more than 30 years.

BRUSH FIRE IN CAMPO PROMPTS EVACUATION WARNINGS

 

Update June 8, 2018 11 a.m. -- Cause of the fire has been determined to be a campfire on private land. The fire is now 85% contained.

Update June 7, 2018 10 a.m. -- Cal Fire reports the fire is holding at 265 acres and is now 30% contained. 

Update 4:30 p.m.: The fire is now 265 acres and 5% contaiued with forward spread stop. Evacuations have been lifted but a soft closure remains at La Posta Rd., Cal Fire reports.

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Mark Siegmund, who called 911 to report the fire.

June 6, 2018 (Campo) – Cal Fire reports a fire called the #RecycleFire has burned 150 acres in Campo, prompting evacuation warnings for residents on North Campo Truck Trail.  The blaze is 0% contained.

The fire has caused closure of La Posta Road at State Route 94. The fire was reported at 10:24 a.m. in the 31000 block of highway 94.

SMALL FIRES DOUSED IN LA MESA AND RANCHO SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 5, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Two small brush fires in La Mesa and Rancho San Diego caused brief evacuations over the weekend but were doused with no structure damage or injuries.

On Saturday, June 2nd, a fire started in brush near an apartment complex at Jamacha Road and Fury Lane in unincorporated La Mesa shortly after 4 p.m.  About 40 residents were evacuated from two apartment buildings as a precaution. The fire was held to 2.5 acres by San Miguel Fire Departments. The Sheriff’s Bomb Arson detectives are investigating the cause.

DEL CERRO FIRE WAS STARTED BY JUVENILES, INVESTIGATORS FIND

 

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Last updated June 4, 2018 at 9 a.m.

June 3, 2018 (Del Cerro) – San Diego Fire investigators have concluded that a fire that scorched 38 acres in Del Cerro yesterday was started by 12-year-old children playing with a lighter. It has not yet been announced whther the juveniles will face charges, ECM news partner 10 News reports.

The fire reported at 4:09 p.m. in the Adobe Falls area of Del Cerro on Del Cerro Blvd. near Waring Road forced evacuation of 60 to 80 homes on Adobe Falls Road this afternoon and evening.

The fire started in a brushy canyon and swiftly threatened homes, burning east and to within several feet of Interstate 8, forcing closure of the freeway and harrowing moments for motorists.

ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson was driving toward the fire on I-8 and got cell phone photos (top left and lower left) of flames beside the freeway and a wall of smoke confronting motorists.  "The other driver and I didn't know what we were driving into, but we were not stopped from advancing," she reports, adding that orange and black embers and ashes were hitting her car. One ember came through her open window and burned her finger, she added.

STATE SENATE PASSES PACKAGE OF BILLS IN RESPONSE TO WILDFIRE DANGERS

 

East County News Service

June 1, 2018 (Sacramento) -- The California Senate this week passed a comprehensive package of bills in response to the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in our state, addressing last year’s horrific fires and taking steps to prevent future devastation. The measures will next move to the Assembly for consideration.

JULIAN FIRE CAPTAIN PUT ON LEAVE SAYS THERE’S NO ONE TO DRIVE THE FIRE TRUCK

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 31, 2018 (Julian) – The only on-duty firefighter authorized to drive a firetruck in Julian was placed on leave yesterday after a heated argument with the chief, ECM news partner 10 News reports.

Rick Marinelli, the departing Chief of the Julian-Cuyamaca Volunteer Fire District in process of being taken over by the County Fire Department run by Cal Fire, reportedly ordered Captain Dave Southcott escorted off the property by law enforcement. Firefighters told 10 News that Marinelli placed Southcutt and Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber on administration leave this week.

But no one else authorized to drive a fire truck was slated to work yesterday or today, leaving the public vulnerable should an emergency occur, firefighters told 10 News.

WHAT CAUSED THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES? AND DO DANGEROUS CONDITIONS EXIST THAT SHOULD BE FIXED?

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2018 (San Diego) – A report released May 25th by Cal Fire concludes that four of the devastating wildfires in Butte and Nevada Counties last October (La Porte, McCourtney, Lobo and Honey fires) were caused by trees coming into contact with power lines. In three of those fires, state laws requiring clearance around power lines were violated by the utilities, Cal Fire also found, though no violations were found in the La Porte blaze.

JULIAN FIREFIGHT: NEW CHIEF FACES LAWSUITS, PROTESTS OVER COUNTY 'HOSTILE TAKEOVER'

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo: Jeremi Roesler, incoming Julian fire chief, spoke recently in Poway. Image via City of Poway

May 30, 2018 (Julian) - Update at 9 a.m. May 30, 2018: Unpaid Julian fire Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber says he was placed on administrative leave Tuesday morning by outgoing Fire Chief Rick Marinelli, and fire Capt. Dave Southcott was escorted off fire station property by a sheriff’s deputy Wednesday morning, leaving a volunteer crew without supervision. “This is their trying to decimate us from the top down,” said Van Bibber said. More details to come.

Jeremi Roesler takes over as Julian fire chief Friday, succeeding five-year Chief Rick Marinelli and inheriting a firestorm.

A battalion chief with Cal Fire’s Hemet-area Battalion 5, Roesler will be dealing with lawsuits, complaints of Brown Act violations, expected protests at the Julian fire station on state Route 79 and an angry citizenry that has petitioned twice to keep its last-in-the-county volunteer force.

ASSEMBLY UNANIMOUSLY PASSES GONZALEZ-FLETCHER BILL TO COMBAT BARK BEETLE SCOURGE RAVAGING LOCAL FORESTS

 

East County News Service

Photo:  Creative commons photo by Youli on Wikipedia

May 29, 2018 (Sacramento) -- The California State Assembly today unanimously passed a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego)  to help prevent future deadly wildfires caused when trees dry up into kindling after being killed by beetles that have become a scourge of the Southern California countryside.

STATE SENATE’S DEMOCRATS PASS BILL TO HELP CALIF. WILDFIRE SURVIVORS REBUILD

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 29, 2018 (Sacramento) – By a 24-11 vote, the California State Senate today passed Senate Bill 894, a bill to help wildfire survivors who were underinsured rebuild their lives after devastating disasters.  Republicans opposed the bill, while all Democrats (except one) voted in support.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: BRUSH FIRE SEASON IS HERE

 

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna 

May 28, 2018 (San Diego) -- This Memorial Day Weekend brought cool temperatures in Southern California.  with many areas experiencing light precipitation. What makes this unusual is the fact we had several brush fires throughout southern California. This is very strong evidence we are looking at another significant wildfire season this summer.

BRUSH FIRE IN LEMON GROVE

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Update 8:45 p.m.:   Heartland Fire and Rescue indicates the fire started in palm trees at the Lemon Grove Trolley station and spread along trolley tracks, briefly threatening about 20 homes.  The fire damaged power lines and railroad ties for the trolley, so the trolley remains shut down. There was also minor damage to eaves of some homes and a fence. Cause of the fire is under investigation by the Sheriff's Bomb and Arson squad.

Heartland Fire & Rescue units from Lemon Grove and La Mesa responded, with assistance from San Diego Fire, San Miguel Fire, and Cal Fire/SDSO to swiftly stop the blaze.

May 27, 2018 (Lemon Grove) -- A brush fire in Lemon Grove has charred about two acres, but Heartland firefighters have halted the forward spread.

The fire was reported in palm trees shortly after 5 p.m. in the 1500 block of San Altos Place. It jumped Imperial Avenue and according to CBS 8, briefly threatened structures on Angelus Avenue.

PARTNER NETWORK RELAYS DISASTER INFORMATION TO VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES

 

In a local emergency, people who don’t speak English or Spanish may not understand urgent information put out by government agencies and media. This is a challenge faced by public health departments and local emergency managers throughout the country, but San Diego County is trying out a solution by partnering with a broad network of trusted community organizations.

READER’S EDITORIAL: A PLEA TO GOVERNOR BROWN – PROTECT US FROM THE WILDFIRES THAT THREATEN US MOST. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE FORESTS.

 

Twelve recommendations to protect communities from wildfire, based on science and needs of our families and greatest risk

By the Chaparral Institute

Photo: Devastation of the Fountaingrove II community in Santa Barbara during the 2017 Tubbs fire was predictable. The area had burned in 1964 and the city was warned by its own planning department that the area was too dangerous to build homes in, but development was approved despite not following general plan guidelines.

May 17, 2018 (Escondido) -- The lead purpose of Governor Brown’s Executive Order of May 10, 2018 is to “Protect Communities from Wildfire.” The order emphasizes that “eight of the state’s 20 most destructive fires have occurred in the past four years.”

TRAFFIC ALERT: FATALITY CRASH CLOGS I-8 WEST

 

Update May 18, 2018: Sajjad Hameed Ismael, 20, driver of 2001 Toyota, has been charged with felony hit and run causing death/injury, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended license. He was also booked on outstanding warrants.

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

May 17, 2018 (San Diego) -- Four lanes of Interstate 8 West at Waring Road in the College area are expected to remain closed this evening for investigation and clean-up following a fatality crash. The multi-vehicle collision that occurred this afternoon killed a passenger in a Toyota Avalon and has prompted a SIG Alert.

According to the Cailfornia  Highway Patrol, the Avalon driver struck a slow-moving vehicle and veered onto a hill, struck several trees and then rolled back down onto the freeway.

COUNTY AND RURAL FIRE AGENCIES RECEIVE $164,500 FROM SDG&E TO INSTALL ESSENTIAL TECHNOLOGY

 

Supervisor Ron Roberts recognizes SDG&E and Fire Foundations for their leadership

Source: SDG&E

May 15, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- In an action that will improve communications and awareness for first responders during wildfires and other natural disasters, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors today accepted two grants totaling $164,500 for the installation of 70 Mobile Data Computers on CAL FIRE firefighting rigs in the backcountry.

CAL FIRE ISSUES NO-BURN PROCLAMATION EFFECTIVE MAY 14

 

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

 

CAL FIRE's San Diego unit has issued a proclamation suspending burning permits and other uses of open fires starting May 14th due to fire danger. Below are details from the CAL FIRE announcement issued today:



Due to the extreme menace of destruction by fire to life, improved property, or natural resources caused by critical fire weather and acute dryness of vegetation; and/or fire suppression forces being heavily committed to control fires; and, under authority vested in me by the Director of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as per section 4423.1 of the Public Resources Code, I hereby suspend, except within the incorporated cities, the privileges of burning by permit and other uses of open fire in the geographic area described as:



ALL STATE RESPONSIBILITY AREA LANDS WITHIN THE COUNTY / COUNTIES OF SAN DIEGO

BRUSH FIRE NEAR VOLCAN MOUNTAIN-RANCHITA AREA; PLANE REPORTED DOWN

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

 

Update May 11, 2018 12:45 p.m.: Crews have found wreckage of an airplane but have not been able to identify the plane, nor whoever was aboard.  Anyone with information is asked to notify the Sheriff.

Update May 11, 2018 10 a.m.:  Morning firefighting crews are nearing the site; the fire is now 10 acres, Cal Fire reports.

Update: 9:55 p.m. from Cal Fire: Incident commander reports the fire is 3 to 4 acres, burning at a slow rate of spread on the north side of Volcan Mountain. There are no homes in the area of the .

May 10, 2018 (Ranchita/Julian) -- Cal Fire confirms that a brush fire is burning near Volcan Mountain in steep, inaccessible terrain tonight.  The Sheriff's Department has confirmed to ECM news partner 10 News that deputies can see flames near Ranchita, near Volcan Mountain, between Warner Springs adn Borrego.  A plane has been reported down, according to HAM radio reports and calls to authorities though the crash is not yet confirmed.

Brett Staulbaum, a ham radio operator in Shelter Valley, relayed this message to ECM warning of a possible risk to the nearby Shelter Valley area:

BYSTANDERS HELP RESCUE SANTEE RESIDENTS FROM BURNING APARTMENTS; BLAZE DISPLACES 40 PEOPLE

 

 

By Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson and Miriam Raftery

April 10, 2018 (Santee) – A fire has scorched multiple apartments at Santee Villas in the 10400 block of Mast Boulevard across the street from Santana High School tonight, where a passerby told East County Magazine details of efforts to save residents and pets from the flames.

“I was riding down Mast Boulevard when I noticed black smoke coming from an apartment complex,” says Robert Johnson, a Santee resident.  “I chucked my backpack and bike,” he says, adding that he followed the lead of others trying to assist. He says  he “started busting windows and helping people out where I could.”

BRUSH FIRE IN RAMONA

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

May 5, 2018 (Ramona)--Cal Fire advises that a brush fire is burning in Ramona. The blaze, now about seven acres, started at Montecito Road and North Ramona. The blaze is 10 percent contained and burning at a moderate rate of speed.

The Sheriff's Department reported moments ago that the fire is mostly in a riverbed and that no homes are currently threatened. Residents and motorists are asked to please keep the area clear for emergency vehicles.

HEARTLAND FIREFIGHTERS FOUNDATION HOSTS FUNDRAISER TONIGHT FOR FAMILY MEMBERS WITH CANCER

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

On Friday, May 4, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. a fundraiser at the San Diego Firehouse Museum will offer an opportunity to see the museum and to raise money for cancer patients Glenn Stewart and Paula Hamma. The Heartland Firefighters Foundation is holding a fundraiser at the museum to help these family members of the men and women who fight our wildfires and other fires in East County.

The museum, founded in 1962 and located in San Diego’s Little Italy, houses steel from the World Trade Center, firefighting equipment from the late 1800s, La Jolla’s first fire engine and more. Besides seeing the museum, the taco plates ($10) and beer ($5) offered will be a great way to contribute to monies to help Stewart and Hamma. There is no entry fee.

LAWSUITS FILED AGAINST SDG&E OVER POWERLINE EASEMENTS: ATTORNEYS SEEK OTHER IMPACTED PROPERTY OWNERS IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Screenshots, KUSI Turko Files

April 30, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Several property owners have filed lawsuits against SDG&E over negative impacts from the utility’s plan to widen easements to 15 feet on each side of power lines in communities including Pine Valley, Descanso and Alpine.

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