Wildfire News

FIRE NEAR MESA GRANDE RESERVATION THREATENS HOMES

 

Update:  Cal Fire has corrected the size of this fire to 46 acres based on more accurate mapping.  Evacuated residents have been allowed to return home.

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alert Service

June 25, 2017 2:15 p.m. (Mesa Grande) – A brush fire burning in Cleveland National Forest has scorched 75 acres and is now threatening two homes, Cal Fire reports.  The blaze began on Black Canyon Road near the Mesa Grande Reservation, about a mile north of Lake Sutherland in Ramona.

The fire is burning at a moderate rate of spread and is zero percent contained. Cal Fire is battling the blaze along with U.S. Forest Service firefighters.  #BlackFire.

If you have photos, eyewitness reports or other information please email editor@eastcountymagazine.org and post in comments below.

FIELD DAY FOR LAKESIDE AMATEUR RADIO CLUB

 

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo:  Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and Paul Rios by Anselmo Ruiz-Nevarez

June 25, 2017 (Lakeside) -- “You talk to Martians?”  That’s a question Lakeside Amateur Radio Club chairman KC6QLS said they have been asked. He and the club members were setting up, from antennas to canopies, for Field Day on June 23.   Field day is ham radio’s open house, so to speak, and runs from June 24-25.  KC6QLS followed up with the answer “They’re not answering.” Part and parcel for what they get asked.

SDG&E ANNOUNCES PLANNED OVERNIGHT OUTAGE MONDAY IN SHELTER VALLEY AND PORTIONS OF JULIAN

 

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

June 23, 2017 (Julian-Shelter Valley) –  A planned power outage is scheduled  starting at 9 p.m. on Monday night,  June 26 through  6 a.m. on Tuesday morning, June 27 in the Shelter Valley area and the outskirts of Julian; a majority of the customers are in the eastern Julian area surrounding Banner Grade, SDG&E has announced.  Julian’s downtown historic district will not be affected.

The outage is needed to replace older power lines and equipment to make the system more weather- and fire-resilient. 

Below is the notice from SDG&E with full details for customers in the affected areas:

A HOT DAY IN FIREFIGHTERS’ BOOTS: HEARTLAND FIRE OPS 101

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

June 21, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Run up three flights of stairs in heavy firefighter boots--in the heat wave.  To walk in someone else’s shoes, or firefighter’s boots, can be eye opening and “deepen” your respect for what these men and women firefighters are required to do.  The opportunity to learn what Heartland Fire & Rescue does on a routine basis was extended via their first-ever Fire Ops 101 class held Saturday, June 17th, at their Thomas H. Owen Sr.  training facility in El Cajon. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE--TO BE OR NOT TO BE?

 

By Pat Landis

June 21, 2017 (Julian) -- Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District is at risk. Choices appear to be (1) Do nothing and persevere until finances force it to dissolve; (2) Voluntarily dissolve and allow the Fire Authority to take over; (3) Increase the Benefit Fee to cover the rising costs and remain viable as an independent/volunteer fire department.

CAL FIRE REMINDS PUBLIC OF NEW LAWS REGULATING DRONES DURING EMERGENCIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2017 (San Diego) – Cal Fire Captain Isaac Sanchez has asked media to remind the public about several new laws passed by California’s Legislature last summer to address problems raised by drones that interfered with firefighting, including causing delays by firefighting aircraft.  Under the new laws, anyone whose drone interferes with emergency personnel can be charged with a misdemeanor and if their drone is damaged or destroyed in the process, they will not have legal recourse to hold emergency responders liable.

SHOOTING RANGE FIRES, POWERLINK MITIGATION MONEY AMONG HOT ITEMS AT JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNING GROUP MEETING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Michael Johnson volunteered to lead cleanup efforts to keep shooting range open on public land.

June 16, 2017 (Jamul) -- A fire alarm going off at the Oak Grove Middle School, where the Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group held its June 13th meeting, provided a jarring start to the session at which fire danger was top of mind for many present. 

GATE FIRE CONCERNS ON AGENDA FOR JAMUL-DULZURA COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP JUNE 13

 

East County News Service

June 10, 2017 (Jamul-Dulzura) -- The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group's meeting on Tuesday night will include a discussion of concerns raised by the Gate Fire, including shooting on Bureau of Land Management property.  Also on the agenda are a Jamul Indian Village update and the County's strategic plan to reduce waste in unincorporated areas.

FIRE I-8 SOUTH OF LOS COCHES

 

East County News Service

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

June 9, 2017 (El Cajon) - Cal Fire crews are at the scene of a 10-acre brush fire south of I-8 at Los Coches.  Lanes are re-opened and the forward spread has been stopped, but be advised.

No structures are threatened or injuries to residents are reported, according to Cal Fire.

The fire is 10% contained.

BLM BANS TARGET SHOOTING ON PUBLIC LANDS REGION-WIDE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo of Gate Fire, courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

May 28, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Aiming to prevent more wildfires, the federal Bureau of Land Management yesterday announced a ban on target shooting, campfires and other high-fire risk activities by issuing State III fire restrictions for all BLM-managed public lands in San Diego County and other Southern California areas.

CAL FIRE SUSPENDS BURN PERMITS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

Source: Cal Fire

After a wet winter, warming temperatures are quickly drying out the abundant annual grass crop. The increasing fire danger posed by the high volume of dead grass and hotter, drier conditions in the region is prompting CAL FIRE to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of San Diego County This suspension takes effect May 26, 2017 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves.

FORWARD SPREAD HALTED AT FIRE IN BOULEVARD

 

Photo: Cal Fire



May 24, 2017 (Boulevard) -- The Ribbonwood Fire has scorched approximately 25 acres in the Boulevard/McCain Valley area. The fire started late this afternoon at Ribbonwood Road south of I-8.

Air and ground crews from Cal Fire responded along with U.S. Forest Service firefighters.

Forward spread has been stopped, Cal Fire public information officer Isaac Sanchez has informed ECM, adding that crews will remain on site this evening for mop-up of the blaze.

GATE FIRE RENEWS CALLS FOR BAN ON SHOOTING ON BLM LANDS IN DULZURA AREA

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 24, 2017 (Dulzura) – Back on in early April, Supervisor Dianne Jacob wrote to three officials at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management urging them to close down public shooting in and around Donohoe mountain in Dulzura.  Her requests were ignored, and last weekend, the Gate Fire that starting by a shooting range in the area charred over 2,000 acres, caused evacuations of residents and an exhaustive response by fire officials and first responders to keep the public safe. 

Now, Jacob has fired off a new letter – this one to Ryan Zinke, the new Secretary of the Interior, which oversees the BLM.

GATE FIRE A REMINDER TO MAINTAIN DEFENSIBLE SPACE

 

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  The San Diego region is more prepared for wildfires this year than it has ever been and residents need to do their part to lessen their risk and be ready to evacuate if it is recommended.

May 23, 2017 (San Diego) - This past weekend’s Gate Fire should have ended any lingering thoughts that the year’s ample rains dampened San Diego’s wildfire threat and the need to maintain defensible space around your home.

BRUSH FIRE CHARS PORTION OF MISSION TRAILS, CLOSES THREE TRAILHEADS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Bryan Snow, taken from State Route 52 in Santee

May 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – A brush fire yesterday afternoon scorched approximately 13 acres in Mission Trails Regional Park.  The blaze began  at Big Rock and was burning toward Cowles Mountain, Jay Wilson with Mission Trails Regional Park’s Foundation told ECM.

As a result of the wildland fire, three trail heads are temporarily closed:   The trail heads at Big Rock Park, Big Rock Road and Shantaung Drive are temporarily closed.  The trail heads from Mesa Road, Lake Murray Blvd. and Barker Way are open.

CRIMINAL ARSON PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GATE FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Cynthia Wharton, taken yesterday from Otay Lakes Road just before it was shut down.

May 21, 2017 – A criminal arson investigation has been launched into the cause of the Gate Fire, which has charred 2,056 acres and is now 70% contained.

Captain Isaac Sanchez with Cal Fire told ECM news partner 10 News that a video shot by a target shooter and posted on social media shows a group of people starting the fire. The video may be this one posted by a user named Vandalsworld on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/p/BUVtlvSBN0r/?hl=en.   The poster claims the people started the fire, but it is unclear whether the fire was started by shooting or some other way. After the fire started, the people could be seen walking away from the scene.

Earlier, some neighbors had blamed the fire on shooters at a target range near where the fire began, in an area where shooting is believed to have started several prior brush fires. But now a shooter may have captured evidence to catch possible arsonists or careless individuals whose actions ignited the Gate Fire.

Firefighters continue to make progress towards full containment, Cal Fire reports.  State Route 94 has been reopened, as well as Otay Lakes Road.  Please drive with caution, however, in this area.

VOLUNTARY EVACUATIONS IN DULZURA

 

Update May 21, 2017, 8 a.m.  -- The Gate fire nearly doubled overnight to 1,500 acres,  but firefighters made good progress overnight and the wildfire is now 30% contained. Road closures remain in effect.

Update 9 p.m. - An overnight shelter is opened at Otay Ranch High School,  250 Olympic Parkway in Chula Vista for those who have evacuated.  Pet supplies and RV parking are available.

East County New Service

Photo by Cyndy Hoffman, taken from her home, looking toward Otay

May 20, 2017 (Dulzura) -- The fast-moving Gate Fire has charred 800 acres and is 10% contained.

Tonight at 6:30 p.m., the following emergency message was sent to 77 contacts by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department:  “There is a fire in the area of Dulzura. The wind is blowing to the East and there is a concern that the fire may spread to your area.  You are being advised to be ready to evacuate if notified to do so.  You may evacuate now if you choose to do so.  The evacuation route is Highway 94 East to Buckman Springs North to Interstate 8 West.  Take interstate 8 West to East Willows Road.  Exit East Willows Road and turn right(north).  Continue West on East Willows Road to the Viejas Casino.  The Red Cross will have a temporary evacuation center located in the casino parking lot. This a fire warning only, not an evacuation order"

If you have an emergency call 9-1-1.  Monitor local television and radio stations, or call the San Diego County Information line by calling 2-1-1 for updated information. For animal emergencies related to this fire please contact Animal Services Dispatch (619) 767-2675.

GATE FIRE NOW 300-400 ACRES: EVACUATIONS ORDERED

 

Update 5:55 p.m.:  The Gate Fire is 800 acres and is now 10% contained.  Road closures remain in effect on Highway 94 from Honey Springs Rd. to State Route 188, and on Otay Lakes Road.

Update 4:50 p.m.:   Fire is now 500 acres and still only 5% contained. A Chula Vista policeman directing traffic was struck by a vehicle and has been taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Update 3:20 p.m. :  The Gate Fire is now 425 acres and 5% contained, per Cal Fire. 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo left, by Dan Cassidy

May 20, 2017 (Jamul/Otay) – The Gate Fire has scorched 300 to 400 acres,  according to Cal-Fire.  Thus far no structures have been damaged.  The fire is burning  near Highway 94 and Otay Lakes Road, toward the Rancho Jamul Reserve with winds at 10-15 miles per hour.  The fire is zero percent contained and still spreading rapidly. 

BRUSH FIRE SOUTH OF JAMUL

 

East County News Service

Photo: View from atop Lyons Peak,  via UCSD HP Wren webcam

Upate 1:20 p.m. :  Brush fire is now 300 acres. Pio Pico campground has been shut down. There is  a hard closure of  highway 94 from the Dulzura Cafe to State Route 188, per CHP site. Take alternate routes and avoid this area.

May 20, 2017 (Jamul/Otay) --  A brush fire that started on Otay Lakes Mountain south of Jamul has burned 100 acres, per Cal Fire, and is spreading at a dangerous rate of speed in the vicinity of State Route 94 and Otay Lakes Road.

California Highway Patrol has ordered Otay Lakes Road shut down due to the fast-moving fire.

"FIRE OPS 101" WITH HEARTLAND FIRE JUNE 17

 

East County News Service

May 19, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – What’s it like to be a firefighter?  Find out on June 17th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Heartland Fire Training Facility, 1301 North Marshall Avenue in El Cajon. “Fire Ops 101,“ a fire ground-operations orientation for civilians including elected  officials and media representatives, will include actually suiting up in firefighter protective clothing, donning self-contained breathing apparatus and actually going inside a real fire to experience firsthand the environment in which firefighters work.

NEED HELP TO CLEAR DEFENSIBLE SPACE?

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 12, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Fire season is fast approaching.  The County’s Defensible Space Assistance Program provides help to low-income seniors and physically disabled people. If you are physically and financially unable to maintain the 100 feet of defensible space around your home mandated by the state, this program can help with:

CAL FIRE TO CONDUCT PRESCRIBED BURN IN THE JAMUL AREA

 

Source:  Cal Fire

May 10, 2017 (Jamul) - CAL FIRE and San Diego County Fire, in cooperation with California Department of Fish & Wildlife, will be conducting a habitat restoration prescribed burn approximately 4 miles southeast of Jamul within the Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve. Burning of standing vegetation will occur on approximately 70 acres as part of CALFIRE’s Vegetation Management Program (VMP). Ignition will occur at approximately 8:00 AM on May 11, 2017 and smoke may be visible throughout the County.

JACOB ASKS CPUC TO AUDIT POWERLINK FIRE MITIGATION GRANTS THROUGH SDG&E

 

East County News Service

May 1, 2017 (Jamul) – When SDG&E received approval to build the Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines across rural East County, the company was required to provide fire mitigation grant of up to $2,000 for impacted homeowners to create defensible space through landscaping and/or install fire-hardening building materials to protect their properties.

CHIEF’S CORNER: WILDFIRE SAFETY—THERE’S GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS…AND IT’S DANGEROUS!

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

May 1, 2017 (San Diego) -- There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!  It’s also along the freeways, in open fields and vacant lots in your neighborhood. That lush green vegetation and pretty wildflowers from recent winter storms is now turning golden in color and soon to become dark brown, brittle and extremely dry.  Fire season is already here and getting extremely dangerous quickly. We’ve already seen quite a few fast moving grass/brush fires throughout Southern California.

FIREFIGHTERS GEAR UP FOR FIRE SEASON AT WILDLAND FIRE EXCERISES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Jeff Holz at Equestrian Center in Santee

April 21, 2017 (Santee) — San Diego County Fire Chiefs, along with fire agencies across the region, held their annual wildland fire preparedness exercises April 19-21 in Santee and Tierrasanta to prepare for the upcoming fire season.

CAL FIRE AND CERT TEAMS TO HOLD DRILL SATURDAY AT CUYAMACA COLLEGE

 

East County News Service

April 21, 2017 (El Cajon) -- As natural disasters continue to grow and become more destructive, emergency responders, such as CAL FIRE San Diego, are becoming increasingly dependent on community volunteer organizations. One such organization that has been called on to assist is San Diego County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). When activated through their sponsoring agency, CERT members can find themselves working in close cooperation with local first responders; augmenting their numbers and aiding their neighbors that have been affected by a disaster. Skills that CERT members have been trained in can include basic first-aid, volunteer organization and search and rescue. CERT members were activated as recently as last year during the Border Fire in Potrero and quickly became an integral part of the community response by helping families and property owners that were impacted by the fire which ultimately grew to nearly 7700 acres over two weeks.

COMMUNITY WILDFIRE ACTION PLAN WORKSHOP MAY 6 IN DESCANSO

 

East County News Service

April 20, 2017 (Descanso) – Do you have a plan for reducing your wildfire risks and protecting your family and pets? The Descanso Emergency Planning/FireSafe Group is holding a workshop on Saturday May 6 from 1-3 p.m. at the Descanso Library (9545 River Drive in Descanso) to help families prepare for wildfires.

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