Wildfire News

SPRING VALLEY VEGETATION FIRE DOUSED

Story and Photos by Josh Stotler

 

January 27, 2023 (Spring Valley) -- A single vehicle collision into a power pole ignited a small vegetation fire off of Elevator Road in Spring valley today. The reports of smoke came in to Heartland Fire Dispatch just before noon and units from Heartland, Cal Fire and air support from the San Diego Sheriffs dept. we’re quickly on the scene.


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FIRE DESTROYS MANZANITA DINER

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Deborah Jean Peck via Backcountry Community Bulletin Board on Facebook

January 24, 2023 (Boulevard) – An early morning fire on January 17 has destroyed the Manzanita Diner in Boulevard. Long a popular stop for motorists traveling along historic Old Highway 80, the building has housed a pizzeria and Italian restaurant as well as an earlier Basque restaurant. The diner had also been a gathering place for community events through the years.


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COUNTY ASKING HELP TO DETERMINE STORM DAMAGES

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 18, 2023 (San Diego) - The County Office of Emergency Services is asking for your help to estimate the flooding and rain damage in our region caused by the recent series of storms.


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FLOODING, MUDSLIDES, AND HIGH WINDS ROCK COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – Flood watches and warnings are in effect across San Diego County this morning.

Multiple roadways across our region are flooded, with others blocked by mudslides, rocks and debris:

  • Wildcat Canyon Rd. in Lakeside is blocked by a mudslide/rockslide in the 3000 block. Avoid area.
  • Lower Honey Springs Rd. in Jamul is flooded at the dip. Do not attempt to cross.
  • Highway 94 from 188 to Barrett lake road was closed due to a large bolder blocking both lanes. It's now reopened at 188, with opening at Barrett and near Otay Lakes pending.
  • A boulder and debris are blocking Fuerte Drive at Lemon Ave. on Mt. Helix.
  • Rock slides are blocking State Route 78 at Wynola Rd. near Julian.
  • Boulders are across the roadway at State Route 78 and Chihuhua Rd. near Warner Springs.
  • A wind advisory has been issued on I-8 east of Tavern Rd. in Alpine to the Imperial County line.
  • The National Weather Service warns to avoid the San Diego River area through Mission Valley and Fashion Valley, which surpassed flood stage this morning as 12.8 feet and is forecast to reach 13.2 feet this afternoon. Roads to avoid include Fashion Valley Rd., Avenida Del Rio, Camio Del Este, Camino Del La Reina and Mission Center Rd. Fashion Valley transit center is closed.
  • A swiftwater rescue was conducted this morning along Otay Lakes Rd. due to flooding.

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WINTER STORMS TO CONTINUE IN FIRST WEEK OF NEW YEAR, SNOW TONIGHT IN MOUNTAINS

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 10 p.m. tonight due to a winter storm bringing rain across the county, with snow forecast above 5,500 feet. Ice, snow and fog could make travel difficult at higher elevations. Gusty winds are also forecast.

Stormy weather will continue for most of the week. The National Weather Service predicts a chance of showers each day, with rain likely on Monday night, Tuesday night, and Wednesday night.  Be careful on rain-slicked roads and if traveling at higher mountain elevations, carry chains.


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SANDBAGS AVAILABLE FOR UPCOMING STORMS

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

December 30, 2022 (San Diego) - The County and CAL FIRE are offering sandbags to residents and businesses in the unincorporated areas as another round of storms prepares to hit the region on New Year’s Eve. The storm is expected to bring heavy rain and high winds.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: INAJA MEMORIAL

East County News Service

November 27, 2022 (Inaja) – Claudia White took this photo of the Inaja Memorial between Santa Ysabel and Julian, where she stopped to remember the 11 men who lost their lives battling the Inaja Fire on November 25, 1956.  She writes, “My husband, Dean White, was across the canyon on the same fire. He was affected by what they saw and heard for the rest of his life. He was especially saddened by the death of his friend Carlton Lingo.”

She adds, “God bless Albert Anderson, Forrest Maxwell, Carlton Lingo, Leroy Wehrung, Miles Daniels, William Fallin, George Garcia, Virgil Hamilton, Joseph O'Hara, Lonnie Shepherd, Joe Tibbets. Rest in peace. You are not forgotten.”


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SDG&E FIREFIGHTING HELICOPTER COLLIDES WITH NAVY HELICOPTER

 

East County News Service

November 24, 2022 (San Diego) – Pilots safely landed two helicopters that collided near San Diego’s Brown Field Tuesday shortly after 6 p.m. 

A  UH-60A Firehawk contracted by SDG&E for year-round firefighting in our region collided in midair with a U.S.  Navy MH-60R Seahawk with three crewmembers aboard.

Despite the damage, crews and their families have much to be thankful for. "Both aircraft landed safely and there were no injuries to personnel," said ENS. Bryan Blair, Assistant Public Affairs Officer for Commander, Naval Air Forces, NBC 7 reports.


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FIRE IN SPRING VALLEY NEAR STEELE CANYON

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

Update: The fire burned approximately 10 acres, including an abandoned home on McGinty Peak.

November 16, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- Cal Fire has responded to the #Willow9Fire, a vegetation blaze that has burned 4-5 acres southeast of Steele Canyon Road and WIllow Glen Road in Spring Valley. 

The fire is in the vicinity of Steele Canyon High and Jamacha Elementary Schools. It began around 7:25 p.m.

It is burning at a moderate rate of spread. Humidity is very low and peak gusts are around 20 miles per hour.

There appears to be a structure threat. Incident commander has requested a Type 1 structure strike team and additional engines. A night-flying helicopter is also requested.

Kathleen Hedberg provided this image of McGinty Peak.


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CAL FIRE: BURN PERMIT SUSPENSION LIFTED IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

East County News Service

November 15, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) -- Effective yesterday, the burn permit suspension in San Diego County has been lifted. CAL FIRE / San Diego County Fire Chief Tony Mecham is formally canceling the burn permit suspension and advises that those possessing current and valid agricultural and residential burn permits can now resume burning on permissible burn days.


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WELCOME TO THE AGE OF FIRES: CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES EXPLAINED

By Julie Cart, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

Photo by Naveen Nkadalaveni, Wikimedia Commons

November 11, 2022 (San Diego) - Describing California’s wildfires means running out of modifiers, adjectives and apocalyptic images. There are no more words. 


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JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE SERVES BORDER 32 FIRE VICTIMS FLEEING HOMES

By Aarav Pruthi, Legislative Intern, Supervisor Joel Anderson

October 13, 2022 (Jamul) -- “It is in our blood to give back and help and this was just an opportunity to do so,” expressed Erica Pinto, Jamul Indian Village Chairwoman.

Almost immediately after evacuations were ordered for East County communities during the Border 32 Fire, the Jamul Indian Village welcomed fire victims onto their property. Not soon after the site opened, it was temporarily homed by approximately 100 people taking refuge on the site. To coordinate the safety and logistics of the evacuees, Chairwoman Pinto and Tribal Secretary Carlene Chamberlin soon arrived at the site to overlook the necessary arrangements and ensure smooth functioning with the help of the tribe’s security team.


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FLY UNITED STATES FLAGS AT HALF MAST OCT. 9 TO HONOR FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS

Source:  American Flag and Flagpole Company

October 7, 2022 (San Diego) - In accordance to Public Law 107-51, the American flag should be lowered to half-staff on Sunday, October 9, 2022 from sunrise to sunset in observance of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. 


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MEET THE FIREFIGHTERS: OPEN HOUSE OCT. 8 AT EL CAJON’S STATION 6

East County News Service

October 6, 2022 (El Cajon) - Heartland Fire & Rescue invites you to an open house on Saturday, October 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at Fire Station 6, 100 East Lexington Avenue in El Cajon.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: WILDFIRE EMBERS – DANGER!

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

October 3, 2022 (San Diego) -- We are about to step into the height of fire season as Santa Ana Winds will soon be blowing. During wildfires, winds can send embers flying well over a mile on and into unprotected combustibles and openings around your home.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION WEEK OCT. 9-15

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

“Fire Won’t Wait - Plan Your Escape!”

October 1, 2022 (San Diego) -- This year marks the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week. Fire Prevention Week is to bring heightened awareness to saving lives, preventing injuries, and protecting property. Start planning and sharing with family and friends now!


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SUPERVISORS ADD BACKCOUNTRY WATER SOURCES FOR FIREFIGHTING

By Chuck Westerheide, County of San Diego Communications Office

September 28, 2022 (San Diego) - The Board of Supervisors today approved additional water tanks and backcountry helicopter hydrants to give firefighting helicopters more water sources during wildland firefighting.


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LAKESIDE FIRE SEEKS VOLUNTEERS AT FIRST OPEN HOUSE SINCE COVID

By Shiloh Ireland

September 25, 2022 (Lakeside) -- Yesterday, the Lakeside Fire Protection District held its annual Open House at Station 2. The event had not been held for several years due to COVID-19. It is always a large family event with kids and their parents.

 

This year featured the REACH helicopter, the jaws of life demonstration, San Diego Chapter of American Red Cross, San Diego Sheriff K-9, San Diego County Hazmat, San Diego County Fire Department, dunk a firefighter booth, Logistics support group to Lakeside Fire,  the rattlesnake removal specialist with many native snakes, and more displays.


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EVACUATIONS ORDERED IN HAUSER FIRE

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

September 17, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – An evacuation warning has been issued for the #HauserFire. It applies to residents who live west or north of Buckman Springs Road at Lake Morena Drive, the Sheriff reports.  Evacuees can go to Mountain Empire High School, 3305 Buckman Springs Rd., Pine Valley.

According to Cal Fire/San Diego County Fire, the brush fire began around 4:15 p.m. near 2022 Lake Morena Drive and Big Potrero Truck Trail in the Hauser Creek area of Lake Morena. Around 5-10 acres have burned with a moderate rate of spread.


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HOMELESS COUPLE, AFTER FLEEING WILLOWS FIRE IN LAKESIDE, NEEDS HOUSING TOGETHER

By Shiloh Ireland

Miriam Raftery contributed to this report

September 16, 2022 (Lakeside) – After the Willows Fire burned out homeless camps along the San Diego Riverbed in Lakeside on August 31, I went back to speak with those who suffered losses. I found a couple, two men, who openly talked about their lives, how they got here, and shared some alarming thoughts on the fire.

They want housing and do not desire to live in the riverbed. But they said they have been unable to secure clean living arrangements as a couple and would “have to have children” to enter a shelter together.


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SUPERVISORS VOTE TO WAIVE FEES FOR PEOPLE AFFECTED BY BORDER 32 FIRE

19 structures including homes, mobile homes and recreational vehicles were destroyed in the fire  

Source: Supervisors Fletcher and Anderson

September 15, 2022 (San Diego) -- Chair Nathan Fletcher, Supervisor Joel Anderson and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors have voted to waive fees for people affected by the Border 32 Fire when they apply for a permit to rebuild a structure, or acquire replacement copies of important documents lost in the fire, such as birth certificates.

Chair Fletcher and Supervisor Anderson, the authors of the policy presented on Wednesday, issued the following statements after today’s vote:


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SUPPORT PROVIDED TO BORDER 32 FIRE SURVIVORS

By Chuck Westerheide, County of San Diego Communications Office

September 13, 2022 (Potrero/Dulzura) - County Emergency Services opened a Local Assistance Center Monday to support those affected by the Border 32 Fire.  The fire burned 4,400 acres and destroyed more than a dozen homes and buildings in the area between Dulzura and Potrero.


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GOFUNDME SITES SET UP TO HELP SURVIVORS OF BORDER 32 FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

September 11, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Some lost homes. Others lost outbuildings, horses, and vehicles.  Damages included wells needed for water, orchards, and more. One needs help to pay her dog’s emergency veterinary bill. All are survivors of the Border Fire, which scorched through the Barrett Junction, Dulzura and Potrero communities – and all need your help through donations at GoFundMe.com.


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DESPITE HEROIC EFFORTS TO SAVE PROPERTY DURING BORDER 32 FIRE, FAMILY SUSTAINS LOSSES AND NEEDS HELP

Retired paramedic loses RV home; family’s water well, solar panels and dreams up in smoke

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Henri Migala, Miriam Raftery, Ryan and Gemma Sommers

September 10, 2022 (Potrero) – Ryan and Gemma Sommers had a dream—to build an earth-berm home on 80 acres in Potrero that Ryan grew up on and inherited from his father. So when the Border 32 Fire swept through the community last week, Ryan didn’t hesitate – he headed into the wildfire and fought singlehandedly to save what he could. But the family had no insurance, and their losses are overwhelming.

“I have been trying to live out my father’s dream of living self-sustainability on a ranch,” says Ryan, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer in 2020. Now the fire has torched much of their property, including burning his uncle’s RV home to the ground.  “My uncle has lost everything,” Ryan reflects. Ryan and Gemma also suffered major losses, with Ryan risking his life to save what he could.

On a GoFundMe page set up to help the family repair and rebuild their lives, Gemma wrote, “We don’t want to say goodbye to our land that has been in our family these past 21+ years..”


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OVERWORKED CALIFORNIA FIREFIGHTERS STRUGGLE WITH PTSD, SUICIDE, FATIGUE, INTENSIFYING WILDFIRES

By Julie Cart, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

Photo:  A Cal Fire employee tries to comfort another participant during a healing retreat at the Nurturing Nest in Desert Hot Springs on Feb. 25, 2022. Photo by Ariana Drehsler for CalMatters

September 10, 2022 (San Diego) - The morning sun warms California’s high desert, launching a clear spring day. Behind high walls at The Nurturing Nest, across from a burbling mineral pool, a small group of men and women roll up yoga mats and arrange themselves in a semi-circle. Their week at this tranquil retreat is ending and a counselor seeks final thoughts from each of them.


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FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS AND WATCHES ACROSS MOST OF EAST COUNTY TONIGHT

 
September 9, 2022 (San Diego) -- The National Weather Service has issued flash flood watches, warnings and advisories for most of San Diego’s East County and inland areas this evening.  

See map on this page and click for details:  https://www.weather.gov/sgx/
 Life-threatening flash flooding of creeks, streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses are occurring or imminent.  
 Flash flood warnings are in effect for Julian, Banner Grade, Highways 78 and 79, Santa Ysabel, Warner Springs, Cuyamaca, and Mount Laguna.  
 A flood watch is in effect for Santee, La Mesa, El Cajon, Poway, San Marcos, and Escondido.

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DANGEROUS STORM HITS REGION, WITH WINDS UP TO 109 MPH, POWER OUTAGES AND FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Twitter: Rockslide on I-8

September 9, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) --  Dangerously high winds and heavy rains from Tropical Storm have promoted the National Weather Service to issue a high wind warning in effect through midnight tonight. Flash flood warnings are also in effect in mountain and desert areas.

Gusts of 109 miles per hour were recorded on Cuyamaca peak today and Mount Laguna has received 2.94 inches of rain as of 1:15 p.m. Flash flooding is reported in Ocotillo.

Videos posted online show a rockslide on I-8 in East County, trees down near the Julian Post Office and at Lake Cuyamaca, trees or large limbs fallen in Pine Valley, Alpine and Boulevard.


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COMMISSIONER LARA SUBMITS FIRST-IN-NATION WILDFIRE SAFETY REGULATION TO DRIVE DOWN COST OF INSURANCE

Strong support in public meetings and written testimony for requiring insurance companies to provide discounts to consumers under new Safer from Wildfires framework 

East County News Service

September 9, 2022 (Sacramento) -- California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has submitted his insurance pricing regulation to the California Office of Administrative Law. If approved, it that would recognize and reward wildfire safety and mitigation efforts made by many homeowners and businesses. The regulation is the first in the nation requiring insurance companies to provide discounts to consumers under the Safer from Wildfires framework created by the California Department of Insurance in partnership with state emergency preparedness agencies.


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FIRE IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO CHARS TWO ACRES ALONG SWEETWATER RIVER

Story & Photos by Josh Stotler 

September 8, 2022 (Rancho San Diego) -- A small vegetation fire broke out in the thick brush at the corner of Fury Lane and Jamacha Road in Rancho San Diego this afternoon. The fire was initially reported at 3:00 and was responded to by several local fire agencies.  


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MEET THE FIREFIGHTERS: OPEN HOUSE AT LAKESIDE FIRE STATION SEPT. 24

East County News Service

September 7, 2022 (Lakeside) –The Lakeside Fire Protection District invites you to an open house at Fire Station 2, located at 12216 Lakeside Avenue, on September 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be demonstrations, station tours, games, food, drinks and plenty of fire apparatus to check out.


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