Wildfire News

ALL NIGHT HAPPY HOUR TO BENEFIT SAN DIEGO FIRE RELIEF

ANIMAL SERVICES RESCUES DOZENS OF ANIMALS FROM WILDFIRES

 

May 22, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Nearly all the animals rescued by the County Department of Animal Services during the recent wildfires are back home with their owners.  Animal Services rescued more than 50 animals when fires broke out across our region last week. In all six cats, four goats, 18 dogs, 21 horses, an emu and a bird were taken in to the department’s care. Only three cats remain. Animal Control officers also helped a couple dozen owners evacuate their horses to locations other than the shelters. Officers evacuated between 40 and 50 head of cattle from just one ranch alone.

COUNTY LAUNCHES RECOVERY ASSISTANCE HOTLINE AND EMAIL ADDRESS

"Update: San Marcos Office Closed"

May 21, 2014 (San Diego)--Unincorporated County residents affected by the wildfires can get help from the County in person and now via a recovery assistance hotline and email address, too.

INSURANCE INFO FOR FIRE SURVIVORS

 

May 18, 2014 (San Diego) – Senator Joel Anderson’s office has provided a helpful list of insurer claim contacts for those who lost homes, businesses or property, or suffered damage as a result of the past week’s firestorms in San Diego County. In addition, Senator Anderson’s office has provided links to information on how to conduct a home inventory, tips for homeowners and renters on dealing with a YouTube 10-minute evacuation challenge.  Click read more and scroll down for details.

USAA RECOGNIZES VALUE OF FIREWISE PROGRAM TO HELP PROTECT CALIFORNIA NEIGHBORHOODS

 

One of the first insurers to provide policyholder discounts in California

May 17, 2014 -- The California Department of Insurance announced this week 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.

COCOS FIRE 80% CONTAINED, DESTROYS 39 HOMES

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 17, 2014 (San Diego County) – The last fire still burning in San Diego County’s unincorporated areas is now 80% contained. The Cocos fire has taken a heavy toll, destroying 39 homes and 7 commercial buildings.  Another 35 structures remain threatened by the blaze.

Today, residents of Harmony Grove were allowed to return home. Evacuations remain in effect tonight for the San Marcos-Coronado hills Community.

NEW APP FOR MOTORISTS PROVIDES REAL-TIME INFO AND ROAD-CLOSURES

 

May 17, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- Having timely information on road conditions and closures can be crucial, particularly during evacuations during wildfires or other emergencies.  Now a new, free app called Waze gives motorists the ability to access real-time traffic and road information provided by thousands of drivers or "wazers" in the region--meaning you potentially could get info before announcements have been made by California Highway Patrol or Cal-Trans.

UPDATE ON COCOS AND HIGHWAY FIRES

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 17, 2014 (San Diego County)—CAL-FIRE reports that the Highway Fire is now 100% contained, with no structures lost and cost to date of $843,796 for firefighting.

The Cocos Fire is now 70% contained after threatening 1,500 structures and destroying 8 single family homes and a multi-family residence.  Cause remains under investigation and the cost to date of firefighting is nearly $3 million.  There are 1,269 personnel on the scene as well as 162 engines, 27 fire crews, 2 helicopters and 1 water tender,  as well as 11 bulldozers and other equipment.

FIRE IN SANTEE/SYCAMORE CANYON AREA

 

Update 10:15 a.m. - Forward spread of this fire has been stopped at 30 acres, CAl FIRE Captain Kendal Bortisser reports.  The fire burned to Friars and 163, per ECM reporter Nadin Abbott. This fire has been under unified command of CAL FIRE, Santee Fire and Miramar Fire.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Mike Schoonover

May 17, 2014 (Santee) 9:15 a.m. – A brush fire is burning in  the Sycamore Canyon/Santee area in rugged terrain accessible by hand crews and brush trucks; aerial resources have been dispatched.  The fire is now two to three acres. Smoke is visible from State Route 125. 

If you are in this area and have eyewitness information please share in the comments section below.  You can also send photos to editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

COUNTY OPENS CENTER TO AID COCOS FIRE VICTIMS; NEW FIRE TONIGHT ON CAMP PENDLETON AS FIREFIGHTERS GAIN CONTROL OF MAJOR BLAZES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy Supervisor Dave Roberts

May 16, 2014 (San Diego) 8 p.m. –Firefighters have made major strides toward containing what is now known as the San Diego Complex fires across our region, thanks to major air power and reduced winds.

All told, the fires have required 1,323 firefighting personnel including 164 engines, 27 fire crews, 5 fixed-wing aircraft, 10 helicopters and more, CAL-FIRE reports this evening.  Multilpe agencies and the Sycuan Fire Department's Golden Eagles hotshot team from East County were also deployed to help battle the blaze.

But a new fire tonight, the Combat Fire on Camp Pendleton is burning on the northwest part of the base, prompting evacuations including the San Onofre Housing area and School of Infantry. In addition the Las Pulgas Fire is over 8,000 acres and is 5 percent contained on the base, where the Tomahawk Fire scorched another 6300 acres and is 23 percent contained.

For other fires, those within the CAL-FIRE service area, visit http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current  or scroll down and click "read more."

HELP NEEDED FOR SENIOR WHO LOST TRAILER HOME IN CAMPO FIRE: FUNDRAISER MAY 26 IN LAKESIDE

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 16, 2014 (Campo)—Jerry Weber lost everything in a fire that destroyed his trailer and all his belongings on May 13 in Campo. He has no fire insurance, relies on his Social Security income, and has both diabetes and a heart condition, according to Maria Amaya.

“He’s been my customer for many years,” said Amaya, who is accepting donated items for Weber at Angelous Barber Shop and Beauty Salon in Campo.  The greatest need, however, is a trailer for him to live in.

Weber is presently living in his car despite 100 degree temperatures, determined to remain on his property, Amaya said. He has no water on site, nor electrictiy.

In addition, a fundraiser to benefit Weber will be held on Monday, May 26 at the Bucking DeLorian restaurant in Lakeside. The restaurant will donate 15% of proceeds and is also encouraging the public to bring donations of food, clothing, household goods, toiletries and funds. For details on how you can help, click "read more" and scroll down.

JOINT ARSON TASK FORCE SEEKS INFO ON WILDFIRES

 

 

May 16, 2014 (San Diego) – A Joint Arson Task Force has been established to determine the origin and cause of the many fires throughout San Diego County this week.  If you have any information regarding the fires, please call San Diego Crime Stoppers at 619-235-TIPS, that’s 619-235-8477.  You can remain anonymous and  reward may be offered if information leads to a conviction.

ARSON ARRESTS MADE IN ESCONDIDO AS FIREFIGHTERS GAIN GROUND ON BLAZES

 

 

Update 12 p.m.  The Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad is now 100% contained.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

May 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)  9 a.m. --Escondido Police have arrested  Isaiah Silva, 19, and a juvenile for arson, U-T San Diego reports.  The arrests came after a citizen reporting seeing two people start a fire in a field near South Escondido Boulevard and another citizen reporting seeing arsonists start a blaze at Kit Carson Park.  However, Lt. Mike Kearney has stated that the two suspects are not believed to have started any of the major wildfires currently burning in San Diego County.

Cause of the other fires countywide remain undetermined.  There has been speculation in some media outlets of arson but officials have indicated the causes remain under investigation.  An arson strike force has been assembled to investigate the fires.

Over 121,000 evacuation notices have been sent by officials and hundreds stayed in shelters overnight as numerous fires burned across the region.

Below are updates on the major fires.

CHALDEAN CHAMBER LAUNCHES MATCHING FUND TO HELP FIRE VICTIMS

 

 

 

May 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce in East County has created a fund to help those who were evacuated during the 2014 wildfires in San Diego County.

“We all have to do our part,” said Ben Kalasho, president of the Chamber. “If we raise $5,000 I will match that contribution with $5,000 of my own.”

To make a donation, visit  http://www.gofundme.com/98nxgo

EVACUATIONS IN ESCONDIDO AREA AS COCOS FIRE SPREADS EASTWARD

 

Update 10 p.m. : Officers in Escondido have detained a juvenile and an adult near the scene of a fire , 10 News reports. A shelter has been opened at Escondido High School as the Cocos Fire continues ravaging North County, only 5% contained after charring 1,200 acres thus far.

In addition, a fatality is now reported in Carlsbad from the Poinsettia Fire.

Evacuation orders have been lifted in Carlsbad, Pendleton and Fallbrook, the County Emergency site reports.

The Bernardo Fire is now 75% at 15,048 acres and the Highway Fire is 100% contained at 380 acres. 

By Miriam Raftery

May 15, 2014 (Escondido)—The fast-moving Cocos Fire that has burned over 1,200 acres and destroyed several homes south of State Route 78 remains only 5% contained during the second day of the conflagration. Evacuations have been ordered in Escondido, where U-T San Diego reports some homes have been lost.

Numerous  road closures are in effect as of 5 p.m., the County Emergency Services Department reports. View list of road closures, including a portion of the Del Dios Highway due to evacuations: http://www.sdcountyemergency.com/updates/cocos-fire-road-closures-05-15-14-1659/  Flames scorched hillsides behind Cal State San Marcos today, where graduation has been cancelled.

Smoke checks in several East County communities today prompted brief concerns, but none grew into major fires.  The problem areas for firefighters remain blazes scorching across North County.  

SCHOOL CLOSURE UPDATES FOR FRIDAY, MAY 16

 

Update: Grossmont Union High School District schools will be open, though CIF sports events remain cancelled.

By Miriam Raftery

May 15, 2014 (San Diego)--The safety and security of students, faculty, and staff is of the upmost importance to schools across the county, the County Office of Education’s website states. As the current wildfires change and grow, each school district will continue to monitor the local emergency situation and make school closure decisions on a day-by-day basis.  

Below is a list of schools that will be closed Friday, schools that will be open, and others that will announce their decision Friday morning.

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."

Pages