Wildfire News

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.

CERT DISASTER TRAINING CLASSES IN JAMUL, PINE VALLEY AND BOULEVARD IN MAY

 

East County News Service

April 20, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the community’s professional response, CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills that they learn during training.  These skills can help save and sustain lives following a disaster until professional help arrives.

BE PREPARED FOR DISASTER – REGISTER FOR THE CERT ACADEMY

 

Source: Heartland Fire & Rescue

April 17, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- Are you prepared for a disaster? An earthquake or firestorm? Consider attending a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) academy. Free disaster training will be taught by members of Heartland Fire & Rescue and Santee Fire Department in classes that begin May 6th

SAN MIGUEL FIRE TAKES STEPS TOWARDS COMPLETING INDEPENDENCE

 

By Mike Allen

Photo:  San Miguel Fire & Rescue

April 13, 2017 (Spring Valley) -- The San Miguel Fire District continues to take the necessary steps to go back to being a stand-alone agency and cut the cord from Cal Fire, which currently provides its fire protection services.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD RECALL UP IN SMOKE

 

By Miriam Raftery

End of recall effort means district will proceed with cancelling Cal Fire contract in July and return to free-standing status

April 3, 2017 (Spring Valley) – A petition to recall three members of the San Miguel Consolidated Fire District board  has been axed by Registrar of Voters Michael Vu for failing to comply with formatting requirements. The proponent, Robert Cederdahl, a former member of the board in the 1990s, did not submit amended forms by deadline, so the recall effort is up in smoke before any petitions were circulated for signatures.

JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE HANDS COUNTY KEYS TO TWO NEW FIRE TRUCKS

 

By Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson

Photo, left:  Kenneth Meza, Vice Chairman of the Jamul Indian Village Tribal Council, addresses attendees.

March 24, 2017 (Jamul) -- Fighting fires in the East County just got a little easier thanks to the Jamul Indian Village Tribe, which handed over the keys to two fire trucks to the San Diego Fire Authority at a ceremony that was held March 22 on the premises of the Hollywood Casino in Jamul.

DEADLINE FOR REQUESTS FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE IS APRIL 15

 

East County News Service

March 23, 2017 (Sacramento) - State agencies, local and tribal governments, as well as certain private nonprofit organizations, which sustained damage during severe winter storms from Jan. 18 to Jan. 23, have until April 15, 2017, to submit Requests for Public Assistance (RPA).

JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE TO DELIVER NEW FIRE TRUCKS TO COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY, IMPROVE REGIONAL FIRE SAFETY

 

East County News Service

March 18, 2017 (Jamul) -- Leading up to what could be a busy fire season in San Diego County, the Jamul Indian Village will officially hand over the keys and deliver a new $1 million ladder truck and $500,000 pumper truck to the San Diego County Fire Authority on Tuesday.

TRUMP APPROVES DISASTER DECLARATION FOR 15 CALIFORNIA COUNTIES

 

By Miriam RafteryPhoto

Photo by Alex Tardy, National Weather Service:  San Diego River crested at 14.15 feet, third highest level ever recorded

March 16, 2017 (San Diego) — President Donald Trump has  granted a federal disaster declaration requested by California Governor Jerry Brown in 15 California counties, including San Diego, due to severe storms that caused flooding, mudslides, and other damage from January 18-23.

ANDY PARR NAMED ADMINISTRATOR OF COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2017 (San Diego) — Andy Parr has been appointed to serve as the County’s new Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Administrator.  Parr is best known in East County as the former Fire Chief of the Lakeside Fire Protection District, where he served for 37 years including during the Cedar and Witch Creek wildfires. Most recently he served as EMS/Fire Liaison for the County Health and Human Services Agency.

LAKESIDE CERT TEAM EXPANDS READINESS FOR DISASTERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CERT team member Christina Whipple

February 28, 2017 (Lakeside) – The room was packed for a recent training program offered by the Lakeside Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) for volunteers eager to help their community if a wildfire, earthquake or other disaster overwhelms local authorities.

EXTREME FLOODING SOAKS REGION

 

 

Report rock slides, boulders or other dangerous road conditions to the County Operations Emegency Call Center (858)565-5262. Help save lives!

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Christina Dahners-Johnson:  Seasonal creek behind Lyons Valley Trading Post in Jamul had been dry for at least seven years before this storm.

February 27, 2017 (San Diego) – Flooding is wreaking havoc on rural roads and highways countywide.  In Mission Valley, the San Diego River has water cresting among the top 10 levels on record, with the ballfield at Petco Park and some parking garages currently submerged.

George Barnett, a member of the Alpine Community Planning Group, posted in the Ranter’s Roost forum, “ It’s raining like hell in Alpine…Viejas Creek is way outside   its normal channel and Via Viejas into the old ranch area is closed with the dam well over-flowing.  To my eye, on a dark and cloudy day, more water is coming down the creek than I recall seeing in maybe 10 years.”

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