Wildfire News

COUNTY, CAL FIRE LAUNCH PARAMEDIC SERVICE IN JACUMBA

 

 

East County News Service

Photo: Two Jacumba CAL FIRE firefighters stand ready to respond in a new paramedic engine at the Jacumba fire station.

October 14, 2015 (San Diego)--San Diego County Fire and CAL FIRE are making a major upgrade to fire and emergency medical services at the County’s Jacumba fire station with the launch this week of round-the-clock paramedic service. It’s the first time ever the service has been offered from the station, located south of Interstate 8 near the Mexican border.

The upgrade is part of an overall effort to increase paramedic capabilities throughout the San Diego County Fire Authority’s service area.  A new paramedic engine at Jacumba is the seventh that County Fire has added over the past few years.  Other new, County Fire-funded paramedic engines now operate out of the Otay, Jamul, Lake Morena, Pine Valley, Descanso and Intermountain stations.

HEAT ADVISORY ISSUED

East County Alerts

October 11, 2015 (San Diego)--The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued a heat advisory for San Diego County inland coastal and western valley areas from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday (today).

Temperatures are expected to range from 90 to 95 degrees for inland coastal areas and 95 to 99 in western valley areas.

The County issued an alert at 10:45 a.m. today. The County continues to operate the Cool Zones program and has designated buildings as cooling centers.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER DAVE JONES TOURS BURNED AREAS, OFFERS TIPS TO PREPARE FOR WILDFIRES AND HOW TO HELP SURVIVORS

 

East County News Service

October 8, 2015 (Sacramento) – California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones visited communities hit hard by the Valley Fire, also noting that two lives were lost in the Butte Fire.

CEDAR FIRE HISTORIC MONUMENT DEDICATION OCT. 24 IN LAKESIDE

 

East County News Service

October 8, 2015 (Lakeside)—A dedication ceremony for the newly completed Cedar Fire Historic Monument will be held on October 24 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Lakeside Fire Protection Office and Fire Station 2, 12216 Lakeside Avenue in Lakeside.

The monument includes a pocket park and honors first responders , those lost in the fire, as well as the strength and resilience of survivors.  Other elements are a map of the Cedar Fire, fire resistant plants and a symbolic red flag pole.  The monument has been designed as a place to inspire people to reflect, reconnect, and remember Lakeside’s struggle and rebirth after the Cedar Fire.

GOVERNOR VETOES BILLS TO CRIMINALIZE DRONES NEAR FIREFIGHTING PLANES

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 5, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed bills that sought to ban private citizens from flying drones over wildfires, schools and prisons, also imposing criminal penalties for violators.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE IN THE SMOKE PATH OF A WILDFIRE?

 

October 4, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - It’s pretty inevitable living in California, even if your home is not in the path of a fire, you can still be affected by smoke particles released into the air from wildfires reminds Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

HEARTLAND FIRE HOSTS OPEN HOUSES IN LA MESA AND LEMON GROVE

 

Source: Heartland Fire & Rescue

October 3, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Heartland Fire & Rescue will be hosting two Fire Prevention Open House events in October. The events will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2015 in Lemon Grove and Saturday, October 10, 2015 in La Mesa. Due to construction there will not be an event held in El Cajon this year. Residents and visitors are invited to attend one or both of the two Heartland Fire events. Please see below for more details.

ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING IN SPRING VALLEY

 

 

East County News Service

October 4, 2015 (Spring Valley ) – Two men in a white sedan attempted to kidnap a woman who was walking on the sidewalk near the 900 block of Gillespie Drive in Spring Valley on October 3rd at 5:15 p.m. 

One suspect is described as a black man 20-25 years old with a shaved head, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 150 pounds. The second suspect is a male of unknown race.  The vehicle, a white sedan, may possibly be a Chevrolet Impala and had black windows.

NEW ONLINE TOOL CHARTS WILDFIRE RISK IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Source: County News Service

October 1, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) --As San Diego County enters the perilous fall wildfire season, you can now tap into a new online map to learn the level of fire risk in your immediate area and resources for finding help in an emergency.

The digital tool allows San Diegans to search the county by address or place name to learn the degree of wildfire hazard and how to better prepare for an emergency.

 Many of the county’s biggest blazes have struck in the fall, fed by Santa Ana winds and tinderbox conditions in the backcountry.

SDG&E WANTS RATEPAYERS TO PAY 90% OF ITS REMAINING WILDFIRE LAWSUITS COSTS

 

East County News Service

September 29, 2015 (San Diego)—San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) on Friday asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to allow the company to charge ratepayers for 90% of its remaining costs to settle the 2,500 lawsuits from the 2007 firestorms.  SDG&E faced $4 billion in claims arising from the fires, but settle most cases for $2.4 billion.

Most of that was covered by the company’s liability insurance or recoveries from third parties. SDG&E now wants its shareholders to pay just 10% ($42 million) with the remaining 90% to be passed on to ratepayers.  If approved, SDG&E proposes to spread out the remaining $379 million over six years, which it estimates would raise monthly bills less than $1.70 for a typical residential customer using 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month.

By contrast, a poll of East County Californian newspaper readers found that 100% believe  SDG&E and its shareholders, not ratepayers, should bear responsibility for the wildfire settlement costs.

RESIDENTS ASKED TO PROPERLY DISPOSE OF BARBECUE COALS TO PREVENT TRASH TRUCK FIRES

 

East County News Service

September 26, 2015 (San Diego)--September is Truck and Heavy Equipment Fire Prevention Month at Waste Management and Waste Management of Southern California is extending its prevention efforts by reminding residents to properly dispose of barbecue coals to help prevent heat related cart and collection truck fires.

FUND LAUNCHED TO HELP WILDFIRE SURVIVORS IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –  The Valley and Butte fires rank among the most destructive fires in California history, with nearly a thousand homes destroyed and tens of thousands of people evacuated.  More than 70,000 acres in California have burned in total this year.

SAN DIEGO CREWS HELP BATTLE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

East County News Service

September 20, 2015 (San Diego) – CAL FIRE Captain Kendal Bortisser, on behalf of CAL FIRE and County Fire Chief Tony Mecham, has provided an  update on status of eight major wildfires  plus two new fires burning in California,. Currently 10,500 firefighters are battling the blazes.

CAL FIRE San Diego continues to support the Northern California wildfires with three strike teams (15 engines- 53 firefighters), 12 hand crews (160 inmate firefighters) and  three bulldozers (6 firefighters).   

FLASH FLOOD WATCH MONDAY AND TUESDAY FOR MOUNTAINS AND DESERTS

 

East County News Service

File photo: Flooded road in Pine Valley, by Alex Tardy, National Weather Service

September 20, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch, cautioning that heavy rainfall and flash flooding is possible from Monday afternoon through Tuesday in San Diego’s eastern mountains and deserts.

Rainfall could exceed two inches in mountains and could top an inch in the deserts.  Recent wildfire burned areas will be particularly susceptible to flash flooding and debris flows.

FEINSTEIN URGES PASSAGE OF WILDFIRE DISASTER FUNDING ACT

 

September 16, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Wildfires, unlike  earthquakes or hurricanes, are not funded as natural disasters---and the money to fight devastating fires is running out.  Now as wildfires ravage our state, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, has issued a statement urging Congress to pass the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act. Here is her statement in full:

12 FIRES SCORCH DESTRUCTIVE PATH ACROSS CALIFORNIA

 

 

East County News Service

September 14, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Over 11,000 firefighters are battling 12 large fires across California.  The fires have destroyed hundreds of homes and threaten thousands more.  Several firefighters have been injured (but are recovering) and at least one life has been lost in the Valley Fire.  Robert Louis Stevenson state park is closed due to the fires, which also continue to threaten giant sequoias at Kings Canyon National Park.

County Fire Chief Tony Mecham and the CAL FIRE unit in San Diego assure that stations in San Diego County are open and fully staffed; all days off for CAL-FIRE firefighters have been cancelled.  He also urged local residents to be prepared in case fires occur here, warning of dangerous conditions.

VALLEY FIRE IN LAKE AND NAPA COUNTIES BURNS HISTORIC TOWNS, ROARS TO 40,000 ACRES

 

 

4 firefighters injured battling blaze

By Miriam Raftery

Photo taken by a Cal Trans crew member

September 13, 2015 (Lake County, California)—Overnight, fueled by gasoline explosions, the Valley Fire grew from 400 acres to 40,000 acres, Cal Fire report.  The blaze has destroyed scores of buildings including the historic heart of Middletown, a historic silver mining town dating back to the 1880s. The communities of Cobb and Hidden Valley have also suffered extensive damage, ABC news reports.

BUTTE FIRE THREATENS THOUSANDS OF HOMES, FORCES EVACAUTION OF HISTORIC GOLD RUSH TOWNS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 12, 2015 (Amador and Calaveras County) – An explosive wildfire is threatening some of California’s most historic gold rush towns including Angel’s Camp (famed site of Mark Twain’s  “The Celebrated Tale of the Jumping Frog of Calaveras County) as well as San Andreas, Pine Grove and Mokelumne Hill.  The Butte Fire is currently threatening 6,400 homes and has already burned 85 houses and 51 outbuildings. 

Over 100 square miles – 65,000 acres have been scorched in Amador and Calaveras Counties by the blaze, which is currently 15% contained. For full details and complete evacuation information, visit the Cal Fire Incident page: http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_details_info?incident_id=1221

WILDFIRE THREATENS GIANT SEQUOIAS AT GRANT GROVE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: General Grant Tree, courtesy National Park Service

September 12, 2015 (Sequoia National Forest)- The fast-moving Rough Fire (#RoughFire)  has charred over 128,000 acres and threatens the famed Grant Grove of ancient Sequoia redwood trees in King’s Canyon National Park. The lightning-sparked fire is 29% contained.

The grove includes giant sequoias thousands of years old, notably the General Grant tree, named in 1867 after Ulysses  S. Grant and declared our nation’s Christmas tree by President Calvin Coolidge in 1926. 

The National Park Service has closed and evacuated the Grant Grove area of King’s Canyon including John Muir Lodge, all campgrounds and the John Muir cabins. The Cedar Grove area and all lodging there are also closed. Those areas will stay closed until at least September 18.  Sequoia National Park remains open but a smoke advisory is in effect.

CHP TRAFFIC SITE RESTORED AFTER 15-HOUR OUTAGE

By Miriam Raftery

September 11, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Highway Patrol experienced a 15-hour outage on its popular traffic site (https://cad.chp.ca.gov/  ).  The site is now restored thanks to East County Magazine bringing the outage to the CHP’s attention.

We received this note this morning from Paul Leymaster, Systems Software Specialist for the CHP,s CAD unit:  “Thank you for bringing this to my attention.  The problem should now be fixed (as of 7:00 AM this morning).  We had a network problem starting at about 4:00 PM yesterday causing a quarter of the state to not update any incidents.  We were unable to resolve the problem until early this morning.”

FLASH FLOOD WATCH ISSUED AS HEAVY RAINS FROM HURRICANE LINDA HIT EAST COUNTY

 

Some dangerous road conditions are reported across region

East County News Service

Photo by Paul Cummings: View from Mt. Laguna looking south at 1:30 p.m.

September 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County ) – The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for San Diego County’s mountains, lower and upper deserts in effect now through Thursday.

Tropical moisture is building across the region, bringing thunderstorms , locally heavy rainfall and flash flooding possible.  Heavy rain and flooding are reported currently in Boulevard and Pine Valley, the CHP website reports.  A mudslide is reported on San Felipe Road 2 miles south of State Route 79, blocking the roadway.

ALERT: HIGHWAY 78 CLOSED DUE TO MUDSLIDES, FLASH FLOODING

 

September 7, 2015 (San Diego's East County)--As remnants of Hurricane Linda hit our high desert and mountain regions, a Sig Alert has been issued for State Route 78.  The highway is closed down from S-2 to Borrego Springs due to mudslides. Flash flooding is also reported on State Route 78 at Yaqui Pass.

There is also heavy rain reported in the southeast portion of the county. Reader Milt Cyphert e-mailed this message: "In Jacumba we had a brief downpour. But, the major storm was Northwest of us. Machine-gun-like lightning strikes and the subsequent thunder claps and booms rattled windows and lungs here. I can only imagine what it must have been like up there where it was happening."

Sign up to receive free East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts via e-mail at the top right side of our homepage and also receive our free weekly newsletter.  We thank the Grossmont Healthcare District for their generous sponsorship of our alerts, helping to keep you safe and informed.

ARE YOU PREPARED WHEN DISASTER HITS? FREE CERT TRAINING OCT. 17-NOV. 7 IN SPRING VALLEY

 

September 7, 2015 (Spring Valley) – The San Miguel Fire Protection District is offering a free disaster preparedness training course for its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Classes will be held on four Saturdays Oct. 17-Nov. 7 at the San Miguel Fire District Headquarters, 2850 Via Orange Way in Spring Valley from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

BRUSH FIRES IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

August 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The Corners Fire burning near Lake Morena is holding at five acres with no structure threat, Kendal Bortissier with Cal Fire told East County Magazine at 3:40 p.m. today.  Air and ground resources are fighting the fire.

Bortissier confirmed that a second fire is burning in Cleveland National Forest near Cameron station. USFS has not yet responded to our call requesting details.

COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS FAIR IN JAMUL SEPT. 11

 

East County News Service

August 22, 2015 (Jamul) – An annual community preparedness fair will be held on Friday, Sept. 11 from 6-8 p.m. at 14808 Lyons Valley Rd. in Jamul. This event is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Standard Electronics.  Admission is free and includes free hotdogs and a free raffle, so families are encouraged to attend.

QUESTIONS RAISED OVER ANZA-BORREGO BURN

 

 

 

East County News Service

File photo by Nadin Abbott:  San Felipe wildfire, a prescribed burn  in San Diego's East County that got out of control in 2013.

August 21, 2015 (Anza-Borrego)—East County residents and a fire official have voiced concerns over a prescribed burn scheduled to be conducted by the California State Parks service today in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

“My opinion, not wise!” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna at the Verdugo Fire Academy in Los Angeles. DiGiovanna also author’s the “Chief’s Corner” column on East County Magazine. He questions why a burn would be done in mid-summer amid drought conditions. “I don't have all the facts," he acknowledges, "however, fuel moisture content is the lowest ever. We have bone dry drought conditions. We have over 11,000 firefighters on the west fighting multiple major blazes. Aircraft, resources, personnel are stripped thin. We risk it? What if it gets away?”

PRESCRIBED BURN SET IN ANZA BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK TODAY

 

 

August 21, 2015 (Anza-Borrego)--California State Parks is scheduled to conduct a limited prescribed burn on park lands today, conditions permitting.  This burn will occur in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park at Carrizo Marsh. The burn will impact travel on roadways in the burn area.

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