Wildfire News

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.

SHOOTING RANGE FIRES, POWERLINK MITIGATION MONEY AMONG HOT ITEMS AT JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNING GROUP MEETING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Michael Johnson volunteered to lead cleanup efforts to keep shooting range open on public land.

June 16, 2017 (Jamul) -- A fire alarm going off at the Oak Grove Middle School, where the Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group held its June 13th meeting, provided a jarring start to the session at which fire danger was top of mind for many present. 

GATE FIRE CONCERNS ON AGENDA FOR JAMUL-DULZURA COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP JUNE 13

 

East County News Service

June 10, 2017 (Jamul-Dulzura) -- The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group's meeting on Tuesday night will include a discussion of concerns raised by the Gate Fire, including shooting on Bureau of Land Management property.  Also on the agenda are a Jamul Indian Village update and the County's strategic plan to reduce waste in unincorporated areas.

FIRE I-8 SOUTH OF LOS COCHES

 

East County News Service

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

June 9, 2017 (El Cajon) - Cal Fire crews are at the scene of a 10-acre brush fire south of I-8 at Los Coches.  Lanes are re-opened and the forward spread has been stopped, but be advised.

No structures are threatened or injuries to residents are reported, according to Cal Fire.

The fire is 10% contained.

BLM BANS TARGET SHOOTING ON PUBLIC LANDS REGION-WIDE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo of Gate Fire, courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

May 28, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Aiming to prevent more wildfires, the federal Bureau of Land Management yesterday announced a ban on target shooting, campfires and other high-fire risk activities by issuing State III fire restrictions for all BLM-managed public lands in San Diego County and other Southern California areas.

CAL FIRE SUSPENDS BURN PERMITS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

Source: Cal Fire

After a wet winter, warming temperatures are quickly drying out the abundant annual grass crop. The increasing fire danger posed by the high volume of dead grass and hotter, drier conditions in the region is prompting CAL FIRE to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of San Diego County This suspension takes effect May 26, 2017 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves.

FORWARD SPREAD HALTED AT FIRE IN BOULEVARD

 

Photo: Cal Fire



May 24, 2017 (Boulevard) -- The Ribbonwood Fire has scorched approximately 25 acres in the Boulevard/McCain Valley area. The fire started late this afternoon at Ribbonwood Road south of I-8.

Air and ground crews from Cal Fire responded along with U.S. Forest Service firefighters.

Forward spread has been stopped, Cal Fire public information officer Isaac Sanchez has informed ECM, adding that crews will remain on site this evening for mop-up of the blaze.

GATE FIRE RENEWS CALLS FOR BAN ON SHOOTING ON BLM LANDS IN DULZURA AREA

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 24, 2017 (Dulzura) – Back on in early April, Supervisor Dianne Jacob wrote to three officials at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management urging them to close down public shooting in and around Donohoe mountain in Dulzura.  Her requests were ignored, and last weekend, the Gate Fire that starting by a shooting range in the area charred over 2,000 acres, caused evacuations of residents and an exhaustive response by fire officials and first responders to keep the public safe. 

Now, Jacob has fired off a new letter – this one to Ryan Zinke, the new Secretary of the Interior, which oversees the BLM.

GATE FIRE A REMINDER TO MAINTAIN DEFENSIBLE SPACE

 

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  The San Diego region is more prepared for wildfires this year than it has ever been and residents need to do their part to lessen their risk and be ready to evacuate if it is recommended.

May 23, 2017 (San Diego) - This past weekend’s Gate Fire should have ended any lingering thoughts that the year’s ample rains dampened San Diego’s wildfire threat and the need to maintain defensible space around your home.

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.

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