By Ariele Johannson
March 9, 2013 (Ranchita) -- For most people, their home is their sanctuary. Having a cell tower erected close to your home or in your neighborhood would be an issue. Yet, if you disagreed with a neighbor’s application to install a cell tower, ranging in height to 58’, would you be able to do anything about it? In the unincorporated community of Ranchita, which is 4,065 feet elevation and approximately 12 miles southwest of Borrego Springs, a group of residents is finding out. These residents have formed an organization, Ranchita Community Group for Responsible Cell Tower Siting. They have committed to proving to the county that the proposed location of a new Verizon cell tower is inappropriate. The construction company is Vista Towers, LLC. The county’s job is to review the application for the tower.
By Miriam Raftery
February 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) ---Heavy snowfall has transformed our local mountains into winter wonderlands. Mount Laguna received 10 inches of snowfall in the past 24 hours, followed by Palomar Mountain with 7 to 8 inches. Cuyamaca also received significant snowfall, as this image sent in by reader Grace Schlesier shows. Frost and freezing temperatures are expected through Monday in inland valleys.
Other areas dusted in white include Julian (3-6 inches), Ranchita (5 inches), Santa Ysabel (2 inches) and Pine Valley (2 inches) . Snow even dipped down to Descanso and Campo, which received less than a half inch each.
Update August 17, 2012: All evacuation orders have been lifted. The Lightning Complex Fires are now 85% contained at 22, 836 acres. Flash floods and rainfall are forecast, with mud slides possible in recently burned areas.
Update August 16, 2012 8 a.m. - The fires are now 60% contained; acreage remains at 15,525. Moderate fire growth will continue today and a return to monsoonal flow will begin this morning, says Roxanne Provaznik with Cal Fire. Direct fireline tactics remain difficult due to terrain. Three firefighters have been injured; cost to suppress the fire is up to $3,870,000. Evacuations and road closures remain in effect.
Update Augusut 15, 2012 9 p.m. -- Fires have scorned 15,525 acre and are 35% contained. The two largest blazes are the Wilson Fire (8,000 acres and 50% contained) and the Stewart Fire (7,000 acres and 40% contained).
Story and photos by Nadin Abbott
August 15, 2012 (Ranchita)-- The mood was tense as firefighters made a stand on Old Wilson Road and Montezuma Road this afternoon. Hand crews were about to do what Public Information Officer for Cal- Fire Tom Piranio called "burning the fuel back to the main fire."
FIRES TO MERGE OVERNIGHT: EVACUATIONS IN RANCHITA AND SAN FELIPE AREAS AMID "EXTREME" FIRE CONDITIONS
By Miriam Raftery
Update 11:15 p.m. -- Scanner traffic indicates fire jumped Grapevine Canyon. S-2 is closed. A new evacuation site for large animals for Ranchita residents is established at Creek Hollow Ranch in Ramona, 25279 Creek Hollow Drive, per the County emergency website. (Love Ranch, named in an earlier post, is NOT being used for large animal evacuations.)
By Miriam Raftery
August 14, 2012 (San Diego's East County) 9 p.m. -- Multiple fires in the Vallecito Lightning Complex have scorched 5,925 acres, with only 10% contained, Cal Fire's Roxanne Provaznik reports. Firefighters have 22.7 miles of containment line to construct.
Update 5:30 p.m. - Evacuations are now mandatory due to spread of the Wilson Fire toward Ranchita. Reverse 911 calls have been made to 228 homes. An evacuation center has been set up by the Red Cross at Warner Springs High School, 30951 Highway 79. A large animal evacuation station has been established at Love Acre Ranch, 35490 Highway 79, Warner springs.