Wildfire News

ADDITIONAL AIR POWER DISPATCHED TO REGION AS FIRES BURN THROUGH NIGHT

 

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 news

By Miriam Raftery

May 15, 2014 (San Diego)--Fires have scorched over 9,200 acres since yesterday, with several still burning.  A large DC-10 air tanker, 17 helicopters and military aircraft are en route to our region, where hot, dry temperatures and Santa Ana winds have prompted extension of the red flag alert for high fire danger to be extended through tonight. 

Nearly 600 people stayed in evacuation centers overnight from the San Marcos and  Carlsbad fires.  More than 125,000 residences countywide received evacuation calls through the County’s Alert San Diego system. The County Emergency website has received over 1 million visits in the past three days.  Most area schools are closed today countywide due to the wildfires.

In North County, three major facilities are impacted.  Kaiser Permanente medical offices on Craven Road in San Marcos are closed;  Palomar Medical Center and Palomar Health Downtown campus on Valley Parkway have announced cancellation of elected surgeries, 10 News reports.

Below are updates on each major fire:

FIRES CAUSE MAJOR DAMAGES ACROSS NORTH COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Facebook/Camp Pendleton Scout

May 15, 2014 (San Diego) 1 a.m. – Wildfires have scorched 9,196 acres, the County Emergency Services Department has announced. Alert San Diego has sent 121,878  notices to residents to evacuate or prepare to evacuate.

Several major fires continue to burn in north San Diego County tonight and several structures have been lost.  Below are updates on each of these incidents.

FIRE IN LAKESIDE STOPPED AT 17 ACRES, EVACUATIONS LIFTED

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

May 14, 2014 (Lakeside)--A brush fire Lakeside along I-8 business route and Aurora Drive sent up billows of dark smoke visible across much of East County late today.  The blaze, which started atop a small hill, charred 17 acres, according to Chief Andy Parr Of Lakeside Fire. Evacuation notices sent to 1,300 residences have now been lifted.

A road closure on Aurora Drive will remain in effect overnight.

GOVERNOR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

Source: San Diego County News Service

May 14, 2014 (San Diego)-- Governor Jerry Brown has proclaimed a State of Emergency this evening after the County of San Diego proclaimed a local emergency earlier in the day and requested the state declaration. The local and state proclamations mean the County can more easily access state and federal resources as needed to help in fighting the fires.

The state proclamation notes that a Federal Management Assistance Grant has been requested and approved by FEMA for the Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad. Under the federal Fire Management Assistance Grant Program, the federal government shares the costs of local fires.

Full text of the Governor’s press release and proclamation are below.

CIF ATHLETIC COMPETITIONS CANCELLED COUNTYWIDE FOR THURSDAY

East County News Service

May 14, 2014 (San Diego)--All California Interscholastic Scholarship Federation (CIF) athletic competitions scheduled for Thursday, May 15 are cancelled in San Diego County.  No contests are to be played in any sport.  

“The fires themselves, the fluidity of circumstances, air quality, traffic/travel, school closures and school access are all issues that have prompted this cancellation,” said Jerry Schniepp, commissioner, CIF San Diego section.  

WILDFIRE UPDATES

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 14, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) 8 p.m. --  Southern California Emergency Services has published a map of  9 fires burning across the region, as of 6 p.m. this evening:  https://twitter.com/SoCalEMSFire/status/466748689151954946/photo/1

Firefighters have gained control of the Sterling Fire in Lakeside, where 1,300 households were evacuated and residents are projected to be allowed back home around 9 p.m.  An eyewitness, Elizabeth Galloway, told ECM she saw a transformer explode, which apparently caused the fire.  Galloway sent the photo at the top of this page.

A red flag warning has been extended through tomorrow night due to strong winds forecast and hot, triple-digit weather.

For updates on the following fires, visit these links:

SCHOOL DISTRICTS CLOSED TOMORROW DUE TO WILDFIRES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--Dozens of school districts closed tomorrow due to the wildfires, air quality issues and road closures. These include Cajon Valley, Escondido, Grossmont Union High School District, Lakeside, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Lemon Grove, Poway, Ramona, Santee, and San Pasqual school districts in the inland region as well as San Diego Unified.  For additional closures http://www.sdcoe.net/news/Pages/2014-school-closure-update.aspx

California State University San Marcos remains closed after today’s evacuation and graduation ceremonies set for tomorrow will be rescheduled.

STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED COUNTYWIDE

 

Schools closed, new fire now burning in Lakeside

 

Photo: Fire off Los Coches Road in Lakeside, photo by Beverly Reyes

By Miriam Raftery

May 14, 2014 (San Diego)—San Diego Board of Supervisors Chair Dianne Jacob today declared a countywide emergency due to at least eight fires now burning.  A Red Flag alert has been extended through tomorrow night.

Fires are currently burning in Lakeside, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Rancho Bernardo, Bonsall, Escondido, Camp Pendleton and Scripps Ranch.

An evacuation center has been set up at El Capitan High School for 1,300 ordered evacuated in the Wintergardens area of Lakeside. Business Highway 8 from Pepper Drive to Los Coches Road is closed.  The fire is now in mop up with no structures lost; evacuations will be lifted at approximately 9 p.m., Chief Andy Parr of Lakeside Fire told ECM.

The County urges people NOT to call the 911 system unless it is a dire emergency. They ask citizens use the 211 system. The 911 system is taxed.  One ECM reader reported getting a busy signal trying to call 911 to report the Lakeside fire this afternoon.

Numerous school districts have ordered schools closed tomorrow, including many in East County. Closures include:

NEW FIRES BURNING ACROSS COUNTY, SDG&E WARNS OF POWER SHUT-OFFS

By Miriam Raftery and Nadin Abbott

May 14, 2014 (San Diego) 12:15 p.m. – High winds continue to fan flames across our region including new fires forcing evacuations in Carlsbad and Camp Pendleton and smaller spot fires in East County.

SDG&E has advised that it intends to shut off power proactively to prevent its lines from sparking more fires, following a powerline fire yesterday in Dulzura.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob issued this statement in response to SDG&E’s announcement.  “I’m deeply concerned about any shutoffs because they pose risks to property and life in an emergency, especially in areas where firefighters need access to well water,” said Jacob, who represents East County. “I urge the utility to cut power only as a last resort and only if there's an actual system failure that could ignite a wildfire.”

USAA RECOGNIZES VALUE OF FIREWISE PROGRAM TO HELP PROTECT CALIFORNIA NEIGHBORHOODS

 

May 13, 2014 (Sacramento) -- The California Department of Insurance announced today that USAA policyholders living in recognized Firewise Communities/USA® sites in California will receive discounts on their homeowners insurance premiums. USAA, which provides a full range of financial products and services to the military community and their families, has been working with the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Wildland Fire Operations Division for several years to investigate the possibility of providing incentives for residents of wildfire-prone areas to take steps to create safer, more fire-adapted communities. NFPA’s Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program provided the community action framework and local data that enabled USAA to offer this new discount to policyholders.

CAMPO FIRE DESTROYS STRUCTURE

FIRE IN CAMPO BURNS A STRUCTURE

 

By Nadin Abbott

May 13, 2014 (Campo)--Santa Ana winds fanned  a structure fire in Campo into a brush fire that fueled a full wildland fire response. Wind drove the fire to jump across State Route 94,  from the south side of the freeway to the north side.

Reports on whether the burned structure was a trailer or shed were conflicting, nor was information provided on whether the structure had been occupied. In this poverty-stricken area, it is not unusual for people to be living in shacks, sheds and trailers.

Randy Surla, an area resident, defied the mandatory evacuation order. “I am staying put,” he explained. “This is the only house I have and I am going to protect it as best as I can.”

EVACUATIONS LIFTED IN BERNARDO FIRE

 

Update 10:30 p.m. - All roadsd are now reopened. The fire has burned 850 acres, San Diego Sheriff advises.

Update 8:15 p.m. - Evacuations in this fire have been lifted, the County Emergency website reports.

By Miriam Raftery

May 13, 2014 6:10 p.m.(San Diego)--A fast-burning wildfire has charred an estimated 700 acres and forced evacuation of 20,000 homes in north-central San Diego County,  Ron Lane, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer with the County Fire Authority told advised East County Magazine. 

An evacuation center is open at Rancho Bernardo High School (13010 Paseo Lucido).  An earlier evacuation center at Torrey Pines High School is full.

The blaze, which is 5% contained, is burning west of  I-15. 

Communities that have been evacuated include portions of Torrey Highlands, Rancho Penasqutios, Black Mountain Ranch, Santa Luz Fairbanks Ranch, outer portions of Rancho Santa Fe and Camino Del Sur, according to Cal Fire.

"Currently, the areas of concern include the Communities of Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch, San Diego, Black Mountain Ranch, Del Mar, Solana Beach and the areas surrounding the SDG&E 230 KV Power Lines," said Cal Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser.

The fire is under unified command of Cal Fire, San Diego Fire, and Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department.

For a full list of areas ordered evacuated, as of late this afternoon, and road closures,  click “read more” and scroll down, where tips on preparing for an approaching wildfire are also posted.

FIRE IN DULZURA

 

Update: Powerlines are down, however resources are now being released. 

May 13, 2013 (Dulzura) – Cal-Fire and other units have responded to brush fires on Highway 94 in the Dulzura area.  Firefighters are on scene awaiting additional ground support.  High winds and proximity of power lines may limit access.

Some residents in the area are without power, SDG&E reports.  The outage affects Steele Canyon High School and Jamul School as well as the communities of La Presa/ Spring Valley/ Rancho San Diego/ Jamacha/ W Jamul/ Indian Springs/ Dulzura/ Potrero/ Campo/ Jamul/ N Jamul/ Lyons Valley/ Sunnyside/ Otay.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: JACUMBA FIRE

 

 

May 13, 2014 (Jacumba) – Tanya Wilkins Aiau snapped this image a 4:45 p.m. on May 5th of a brush fire near her Jacumba home--a fire that she reported to 911.

“I was just passing the Golden Acorn on east bound I-8 when I saw smoke. I didn't have any cell phone service and couldn't tell exactly where the fire was from that distance,” she said. “When I rounded the corner by the billboard (advertising the Rio Bend RV park) at the West end of Walker Canyon I could see flames. I used a call box to call in the fire; the first firetruck passed me while I was on the phone."

RED FLAG WARNING ISSUED: EXTREME FIRE DANGER

 

 

May 10, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)- - The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning from Sunday through Tuesday night for San Diego County’s mountains and valleys. A red flag warning means high fire danger due to strong winds, low humidities and warm temperatures.

A high pressure system along the west coast will bring much warmer and drier conditions along with gusty Santa Ana winds this week, with strongest winds Monday and Tuesday.

CHARIOT FIRE CAUSED BY BLM JEEP, CAL FIRE CONCLUDES

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 9, 2014 (Mount Laguna) -- CAL FIRE investigators have determined that the July 6, 2013 Chariot Fire southwest of Julian was caused by a Jeep Wrangler  owned and operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which ignited the dry vegetation under the vehicle. The CAL FIRE finding confirms allegations previously made by an attorney representing fire victims, who had indicated a private investigation had revealed evidence that a BLM Jeep started the blaze.

The Chariot Fire started just before 1 p.m. in eastern San Diego County near Butterfield Ranch Resort and the Great Southern Overland Stage Route on land managed by the BLM. The fire burned 7,055 acres on both federal and public lands and destroyed 149 structures, including a historic lodge, cabins at the Shrine Camp, and others. Over 2,100 firefighters battled the fire during the 10 days it took to contain the blaze.

1ST ANNUAL LAKESIDE FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION GOLF TOURNAMENT BENEFITS STONEY'S KIDS

 

By: Janis Russell

May 8, 2014 (El Cajon)- On May 6th, 49 firefighters from the Lakeside Firefighters Association teed off in a benefit golf tournament at Cottonwood Golf Club to help Stoney’s Kids.

THIS FIRE SEASON IS EXPECTED TO BE AMONG THE WORST IN STATE HISTORY, CAL FIRE AND INTERIOR DEPT. SECRETARY WARN



Photo: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell thanks a Golden Eagle hotshot firefighter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Nadin and Tom Abbott

May 8, 2014 (Spring Valley) The number of fires this year is higher than normal.  Interstate 8 has closed due to fires twice already this year during the Gun Fire at Mount Laguna and the Jacumba fire just this week.  Drought and climate change are key factors, officials warn—and this could be our worse wildfire season on record.

“The drought is expanding throughout the state of California” as well as the Southwest region, said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell during a Wildfire Awareness Week event at CAL FIRE Headquarters in Spring Valley on May 6th. 

She cited a new report just issued by the White House, noting that climate change “increases the risk from drought.”

"WILDFIRE AWARENESS WEEK" DECLARED IN CALIFORNIA FOR MAY 4 - 10

 

CAL FIRE Encourages Wildfire Preparedness and Prevention

May 8, 2014 (Sacramento) – Drought conditions have led to a significant increase in wildfire activity and to ensure Californians are ready, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. has declared May 4-10, 2014 as “Wildfire Awareness Week”. CAL FIRE is reminding residents during Wildfire Awareness Week of the dangers posed by wildfires and the simple steps that should be followed to prepare for and prevent them.

FIRE NEAR JACUMBA CLOSES 1-8 TEMPORARILY