By Miriam Raftery
Photo, left: Cal Fire firefighter douses hot spots during Border Fire
June 22, 2016 (Potrero)—Joe Cebe, Sr. lost everything at his chicken farm in Ramona during the 2003 Cedar fire. He suffered more losses in the 2007 firestorms, when his Potrero ranch operations were disrupted. Now during the Border Fire, he’s suffered devastating losses at the Cebe Farms facility in Potrero. T his time, thousands of chickens died not from fire, but from bureaucratic decisions by fire officials that left 100,000 chickens largely deprived of water and food for days amid triple-digit heat.
“We’re running on a wing and a prayer,” Sebe told East County Magazine in an exclusive interview this morning. He estimates at least 20% of the flock has been lost thus far. Power remains out, his water tanks are empty, and Cal Fire initially denied a request to power up an emergency generator, he says, adding that he is currently still awaiting permission to bring in trucks with feed and more water for the surviving birds.