Wildfire News

JULIAN-CUYAMCA FIRE DISTRICT RESIDENTS TO HEAR DISSOLUTION PROPOSAL FROM COUNTY JULY 27

Country threatens to take away all funds and a fire/paramedic engine if district board refuses County’s offer

East County News Service

July 27, 2017 (Julian) -- On Thursday, July 27 at 6:30 pm, at the Julian Fire Station (3407 Highway 79 in Julian), the San Diego County Fire Authority will make its final presentation to try to convince the community to dissolve its volunteer fire department and be accepted under the Fire Authority. 

The meeting will begin with a professional video mad for  the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD),  followed by a Powerpoint presentation by County Fire Chief Tony Mecham. The audience will be able to ask questions and express concerns.

The County is proposing that, at a cost of $1.5 million, it will provide a staff of three professional firefighters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But if the JCFPD refuses the offer, the County will withdraw all financial support that it has been giving for 30 years, including a paramedic/engine placed at CalFire almost 2 years ago.

ILLEGAL SKY LANTERNS LAUNCHED IN LAKE MORENA VILLAGE RAISE FIRE CONCERNS

 

 

Users could be prosecuted and held liable for damages; sky lanterns have caused fires and serious harm elsewhere

By Miriam Raftery

July 27, 2017 (Lake Morena Village) – Residents in Lake Morena Village are fired up over dangers posed by illegal sky lanterns, also known as Chinese lanterns, launched in the area in recent weeks.  Sky lanterns are illegal in at least 30 states, including California due to fire dangers.

Claudia Millerbragg, moderator of the Campo-Lake Morena Neighborhood Watch Forum, says she found one in her yard about three months ago. Since then, she told East County Magazine,  “Community members have seen four different ones in the sky in the past couple of weeks. Usually Saturday night.”

Millerbragg says she spoke with Captain Cox at the Lake Morena Fire Station.  “This is what he stated,” she posted on the Neighborhood Watch Facebook page yesterday. “1. If a fire lantern lands in your yard, pick it up with gloves on and put in a paper bag. Call the station or main Calfire number. 2. Video any lantern being lit or just leaving property. Call 911. And it is against the law to fire off the lantern.”

300-ACRE LOST FIRE BURNING NEAR WARNER SPRINGS

 

Update July 23, 2017 8 p.m.-- The fire is 40% contained and has burned 255 acres. The evacuation advisory for Chihuahua Valley Road has been lifted as firefighters make good progress on this fire.

Update July 23, 2017, 8:20 a.m. (Warner Springs) -- With better mapping the fire is now estimated at 210 acres. Cleveland National Forest and CAL FIRE are fighting it in a joint command.  Hiikers are urge to avoid the Pacific Crest trail in the area. An evacuation advisory is in effect for Chihuahua Valley Road.

East County News Service

July 22, 2017 (Warner Springs) -- A 300-acre wildfire dubbed the #LostFire is burning four miles north of Warner Springs and is zero percent contained ths evening, according to County Emergency Services and CAL FIRE.

The blaze began at the Indian Flats Campground off State Route 79.  Indian Flats campground has been evacuated. Hwy 79 closed at Indian Flats Rd., Chihuahua Valley Rd. and Puerta LaCruz Rd

SDG&E RESPONDS TO POWERLINK MITIGATION QUESTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 21, 2017 (Jamul) – At last month’s Jamul-Dulzura Planning Group meeting, concerns were raised over Sunrise Powerlink Mitigation grants – specifically, why some homes near the high voltage line in Deerhorn Valley received no grant money, while homes in Alpine further area where added to the eligible area for grants and did receive funds. Questions have also been raised as to why Alpine has representation on the Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation Board, but Deerhorn Valley/Jamul does not.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE LAUNCHES FACEBOOK PAGE WITH REPORTS OF ACTIVE FIRES

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 19, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – San Miguel Fire District has launched a Facebook page to alert residents about daily fire and rescue incidents within the district.  You can view the page here: https://www.facebook.com/SanMiguelFireRescue/

JENNINGS FIRE 90% CONTAINED; ALL EVACUATION ORDERS LIFTED

 

 

Update July 13, 2017:  The fire is now 90% contained and holding at 400 acres, Cal Fire reports.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Renee Owens

July 12, 2017 (Lakeside) - The Jennings Fire that began yesterday in Lakeside has charred over 400 acres and is 30 percent contained. Cause of ignition was a vehicle.

All evacuation orders and warnings for the Jennings Fire have been lifted in the fire area.  The Temporary Evacuation Points at Joan MacQueen Middle School and Granite Hills High School have been closed. All roadways are reopened.

MORE DRAMATIC JENNINGS FIRE PHOTOS

 

East County News Service

July 11, 2017 (Flinn Springs) – “I watched this whole fire play out, since we live so close,” Renee Owens wrote in an email to ECM. “It’s not the first fire I have ever witnessed, but this one got so hot and moved so quickly at first it was downright scary. You could hear the trees pop and explode, the fire reached 60 foot flames on some of the steep slopes, and stopped right at the I-8 just a couple hundred feet from a huge propane storage tank. It traveled frighteningly fast at first, but once the air tankers and helicopters showed up - combined with hitting some steep and sparsely vegetated cliff faces - they managed to tamp it down pretty quickly despite the heat and wind. It came within a couple hundred feet of houses near Dunbar lane. Watching it go from enormously hot and fast to under control was seriously impressive, and we owe some major thanks to the pilots on this one.”

As of 10 p.m. tonight, the fire is 10% contained and has burned over 400 acres.  All roads have been reopened.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: JENNINGS FIRE RAINBOWS

 

East County News Service

July 11, 2017 (Flinn Springs) — Renee Owens sent in these photos of the #JenningsFire burning between Lakeside and Alpine in San Diego’s East County, including the eerily beautiful images of “fire rainbows” – illusions created by helicopters dropping water on the flames. 

JENNINGS FIRE AT 400 ACRES: PARTIAL REOPENING OF I-8

Three firefights injured battling blaze

By Miriam Raftery,  photo by Jonathan Goetz

July 11, 2017 (Alpine/Lakeside./Flinn Springs) -- The #JenningsFire that began at 1:40 p.m. near Lake Jennings in Lakeside has swelled to 400 acres, Cal Fire reports.  Forward spread of the fire has been stopped.

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for 15000 Viewside Lane along the south side of I-8 in Alpine and is a structure threat to five homes. 

An evacuation center is open at Joan MacQueen Middle School located at 2001 Tavern Road in Alpine.

An earlier announced evacuation center at Granite Hills High has been closed.

BRUSH FIRE CLOSES I-8 IN LAKESIDE: HOMES THREATENED

UPDATE AS OF 9:50 PM:  FIRE IS 10% CONTAINED

UPDATE AS OF 8:57 PM: ALL MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDERS HAVE BEEN LIFTED 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Jonathan Goetz

July 11, 2017 (Lakeside) -- The fast-moving #JenningsFire has charred over 300 acres in the past hour and forced shutdown of I-8 in both directions from Lake Jennings Road to Dunbar Lane. 

At least five structures remain threatened as of 3:30 p.m.. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered on Viewside, south of I-8,  Cal-Fire reports.

The fire, which began in brush at 1:40 p.m.,  is burning toward propane tanks at Kamps Propane, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.  Airtankers and ground crews are battling the blaze.

Fire is burning southeast from the freeway toward Harbison Canyon Rd, the Santee Sheriff substation tweeted. Residents in Harbison Canyon and Crest should be on alert!

SAN DIEGO CREWS SENT TO BATTLE MAJOR FIRES ACROSS CALIFORNIA: ACRES SCORCHED IN 2017 ALREADY DOUBLE LAST YEAR’S TOTAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy San Bernadino County Fire Department

July 10, 2017 (San Diego) – It’s shaping up to be an extreme fire season.  Over 6,100 firefighters are battling at least 14 large wildfires burning across California, CAL FIRE public information officer Issac Sanchez reports on behalf of CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Chief Tony Mecham. The U.S. Forest Service is also battling numerous fires on federal forest and national park lands, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  

COX CLAIMS SDG&E MADE “FALSE AND DEFAMATORY STATEMENTS” ABOUT CAUSE OF GUEJITO FIRE; SDG&E FIRES BACK THAT COX ARGUMENT IS "DISINGENUOUS"

 

Updated July 10 with SDG&E response filed with CPUC

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2017 (San Diego) – Cox Communications and Cox California Telcom have filed a motion seeking limited party status in order to file a motion to strike what Cox calls “false and defamatory statements” that  San Diego Gas & Electric Company made in its application to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) seeking authorization to recover $379 million in costs of the 2007 wildfires from ratepayers.

SDG&E fired back by filing a response calling Cox's argument "wholly disengenuous."

CHIEF’S CORNER: BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF DURING WILDFIRES

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

July 10, 2017 (San Diego) -- Wildfires seem to be burning daily in almost every county. You may not live directly in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) however you will likely be impacted by the large amount of smoke generated by these fires.

DRONE OPERATORS REMINDED NOT TO FLY NEAR FIRES

 

Drone impeded firefighting near Camp Pendleton fire for a full hour, officials say.

Hobbyist drones are a growing safety concern among local first responders fighting fires in the air and on the ground.

As we approach peak fire season, San Diego County Fire and CAL FIRE San Diego Unit officials are reminding hobby drone operators to steer clear of wildfires. Drones put first responders’ safety at risk, and they stop or slow firefighting operations.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE & RESCUE GRADUATION BADGE CEREMONY JULY 11: A JOURNEY TO RETURN TO LOCAL CONTROL

 

East County News Service

July 9, 2017 (Spring Valley) -- San Miguel Fire & Rescue will hold a graduation and badge pinning ceremony for all 85 members of its Fire District on July 11th at 4 p.m. at Cuyamaca College, Bldg B.

JAMUL DULUZURA PLANNING GROUP AGENDA JULY 11 INCLUDES ROAD IMPROVEMENTS AND SHOOTING ON PUBLIC LAND

 

Source:  Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group

July 7, 2017 (Jamul-Dulzura) – The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group meets on Tuesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Oak Grove Middle School Library, 14344 Olive Vista Drive in Jamul.   Hot agenda items include a County presentation on road improvements and use of federal Bureau of Land Management property by shooters after the Gate Fire.

The agenda also includes a cell tower permit proposed at Mother Grundy and a Jamul Indian Village update, as well as officer announcements and reports.

Below is the full agenda:

INMATE FIREFIGHTER SUFFERS CHAINSAW INJURY FIGHTING FIRE IN LAKESIDE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo credit Calif. Department of Corrections

July 5, 2017 (Lakeside) — An inmate firefighter has suffered a life-threatening injury after he lost control of a chainsaw that cut his leg, Fox 5 reports.

The firefighter was working at the scene of a brush fire that began around 1:30 p.m. near Olde Highway 80 and Los Coches Road in Lakeside.   Mobile homes were briefly threatened before firefighters got the blaze under control.

FIRES DESTROY SALON AND HOME IN LAKESIDE; FAMILY DISPLACED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos courtesy of Lakeside Fire

July 2, 2017 (Lakeside) – A mother and sons are homeless after a fire that began with a vehicle striking a commercial building next door spread into their residence yesterday.  A GoFundMe page has been started to assist the victims, For: LaVonne Kraus, Tory Rodriguez, Richard Rodriguez, Jesse Rodriguez.  The Solis Hair Salon has also been heavily damaged.

CAL FIRE WARNS OF DANGERS AS HOLIDAY WEEKEND APPROACHES

 

All fireworks are illegal in San Diego County; use can result in $50,000 fine or jail time

Source: Cal Fire

July 1, 2017 (San Diego) - With the Fourth of July holiday quickly approaching, CAL FIRE is reminding everyone to do their part to prevent fires and injuries caused by fireworks. Two out of five fires on the 4th of July are caused by fireworks, more than any other cause of fires. The majority of these incidents are related to either the use of illegal fireworks or state-approved fireworks that are used incorrectly.  All Fireworks are illegal in San Diego County including state-approved fireworks.

BRUSH FIRE IN DEHESA: FORWARD SPREAD HALTED

 

Update 12:05 p.m. - The fire is now 30% contained, per Cal Fire.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Gloria Chadwick

June 27, 2017 (Dehesa) -- Cal Fire's incident commander reports that forward spread has been stopped on a 20-acre brush fire in Dehesa. The Sloane Fire started at Sloane Canyon east of Dehesa Road in East County mid-morning. 

No structures are threatened.

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.

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