Cedar Fire anniversary
By E.A. Barrera
November 27, 2013 (San Diego) – Even now, ten years since the flames have died and the air has cleared, the sight of it all still seems unreal - the earth outside my door in smolders and flames. Waking up that Sunday morning to the sounds of Santa Ana winds and an unpleasant sky, the Great Fires of 2003 were still a world away. They were still off in some remote back-country. Dreadful to consider - but none the less esoteric, and lacking any influence upon my Sunday morning routine.
East County Magazine's special report on the Cedar Fire, originally aired on KNSJ, is now online. Listen here: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/pla2tx46jk/ECMShow11-1-13CedarFireSpecial-FINAL.mp3 (It may take a few moments to load, so please be patient).
Our editor, Miriam Raftery, covered the Cedar Fire back in 2003 for several publications and our own publisher, Mark Hanson, lost his home in Lakeside's Wildcat Canyon. Thus we were able to reconnect with a broad network of contacts to create our special report, which includes some never before told stories and interviews with fire survivors, firefighters and elected officials including Cal Fire Captain Mike Mohler, Lakeside resident Mark Hanson, Lakeside Fire Chief Andy Parr, burn survivor Rudy Reyes, Supervisor Dianne Jacob, San Diego Councilman Mark Kersey, Santee Councilman Brian Jones, retired Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Ostrander, Kathy Kassell, cofounder of the Cedar Fire Rebuild Resource Group, and other eyewitness stories from California’s worst wildfire ever.
We conclude with reflections on what’s changed since then, as well as a reading from The Fire Outside My Window by Lindra Millers Younger.
By Cindy Buxton, Chair Forest Committee, San Diego Sierra Club
November 2, 2013 (Cleveland National Forest) – It’s been ten years since the Cedar Fire. Now it’s the beginning of Deer Season. I put this video together years ago from a Power Point on the Cedar Fire from Cedar Gorge, in the first hours and the weeks and months to follow. For the milestone remembered this week, here's another moment, remembering that last night from a world we left behind.
November 1, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Hear dramatic eyewitness accounts, some never before told, from survivors of the Cedar Fire, firefighters who battled the blaze and saved lives, and elected officials sharing their memories of the worst wildfire in California's history. We've spent weeks compiling these special interviews, reflecting on the past as well as how far we've come -- and what is still needed to keep us safe before the next firestorm strikes.
Our one-hour special report will air today at 5 p.m. on KNSJ 89.1 FM, and again tomorrow at 9 a.m. Please tune in and sharet his information with your friends.
By Miriam Raftery
Photos of anniversary event by Pam Wilmers and Miriam Raftery
October 27, 2013 (Lakeside) – “It started as a single flame in rugged, remote backcountry…The perfect alignment of extreme weather, fire weather and circumstances quickly transformed that flame into an enormously powerful and unstoppable force known as the Cedar Fire,” Lakeside firefighter Chuck Palmore said at yesterday’s 10-year anniversary of the Cedar Fire commemoration at the Lakeside Fire Station. The Cedar Fire touched the lives of thousands of people, he noted. “A decade later, we gather together here today to reflect and reconnect, to share with each other our journey that has taken us from victim to survivor to thriver.”
The Cedar Fire remains the worst wildfire in California's history in size (280,278 acres, or 438 square miles), buildings destroyed (2,820, including over 2,200 homes), and people killed(15). Of those who lost homes, most have rebuilt or moved on. But for the families of those who perished, the scars will forever remain.
Molly Sloan lost her daughter, a granddaughter, and her daughter-in-law. She and other family members came to this memorial service to display a photo montage in tribute to their loved ones’ memories.
By Nadin Abbott
Photos by Tom Abbott
October 25, 2013 (San Diego)—Today political leaders from San Diego City and the County came together with fire officials to remember the 2003 Cedar Fire. The press conference served as both a status report on our region’s ability to respond to the next emergency, as well as a memorial for the 15 San Diegans who died during the firestorm.
By Miriam Raftery
September 28, 2013 (Lakeside) – On the tenth anniversary of the Cedar Fire, community leaders and fire survivors will gather to dedicate a historic memorial commemorating the worst wildfire in California history. The ceremony will take place on October 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.at River Park Fire Station #2, 12216 Lakeside Avene in Lakeside, a community that suffered devastating losses when the firestorm trapped people caught unaware of the inferno raging during the fire's first night.
The event will also honor first responders and celebrate fire survivor families’ lifelong connection as guests pause to “reflect, remember and reconnect.” There will be exhibits, disaster prevention program information, book signings by Sandra Younger, author of The Fire Outside My Window, a VFW band, food and beverages, a moment of remembrance, and appreciation of community support.
Speakers will include Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Fire Chief Andy Parr, David Kassel from the Cedar Fire Rebuilding Resource Group, and Fire Chief Andy Parr. Presentations will be made from the offices of Senator Joel Anderson, Assemblyman Brian Jones, and Congressman Duncan Hunter.
An essay by Vickie Bradeen
October 26, 2003 (San Diego's East County)--Today is a day of bittersweet remembrance of October 26, 2003, when I watched the home I grew up in, my parents home of 34 yrs at the time, burn completely to the ground as the powerful, almost angry Cedar Fire consumed every inch of it right before my eyes.