Potrero

BORDER FIRE 45% CONTAINED; EVACUATION SHELTER CLOSES FRIDAY

By Miriam Raftery

June 24, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – This morning Cal-Fire reports that the Border Fire is 45% contained after scorching 7,483 acres.  Five homes and 11 outbuildings were destroyed. 

The evacuation shelter at Los Coches Creek Middle School in El Cajon is closing today. All evacuated areas are now reopened, however some road closures remain in effect.  View full details from Cal Fire at: https://twitter.com/CALFIRESANDIEGO/status/746347587112828928

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RESIDENTS HEAR UPDATES ON BORDER FIRE, THANK FIREFIGHTERS AND VOICE SOME CONCERNS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: County Fire Chief Gary Croucher

June 23, 2016 (El Cajon) --At a community meeting Thursday night at the Los Coches Creek Elementary School in El Cajon, fire officials gave a briefing on steps they took to battle the Border Fire, which since Sunday has burned close to 7,400 acres, destroying 5 homes and 11 outbuildings.  

Residents voiced gratitude toward firefighters for  valiant efforts to save homes and lives, also acknowledging much that has improved since the 2003 and 2007 firestorms thanks to better investments in firefighting equipment and technology.

But some voiced concerns over areas they hope to see improved-- notably helping children and young teens forced to evacuate when parents were away at work, slow communications early on about the fire’s progress, animals lacking food and water in the evacuation zone, and inadequate water at Lake Morena for firefighting aircraft due to the city of San Diego draining the reservoir too low.

TACTICAL FIRING NEAR POTRERO

Source: Cal Fire

June 23, 2016 (Potrero) Tactical firing Operations are being conducted above the north east corner of the Border 3 Fire., Cal Fire advises.

These firing operations are one of the many tools used to stop and or slow down the spread of large fires. The firing operation, along with direct perimeter control efforts, will continue throughout the day and night until the objective has been met.

UPDATED ROAD CLOSURES IN BORDER FIRE

 

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

June 23, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- Cal Fire and the County Office of Emergency Services have released the following updates on new and contining road closures due to the Border Fire.  Also, a large plume of smoke visible this afternoon is due largely to a backfire lit to protect communities.

Below is the latest info on road closures:

LAKE MORENA, CAMPO STILL THREATENED; COMMUNITY MEETING TONIGHT ON BORDER FIRE ISSUES

5 homes lost, all on same property

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Facebook post by Kerra Elizabeth McAhren

June 23, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – This morning, the Border Fire is now 20% contained and has scorched 6,8450 acres as over 1,900 firefighters battle the blaze.  Five homes (of which 3 were secondary homes on the same property as the two homes lost) and eleven outbuildings were destroyed, while one other home was damaged, Cal Fire confirms. Residents on the Campo-Lake Morena Neighborhood Watch page on Facebook have been posting eyewitness accounts, photos and videos as well as thank you messages for firefighters at https://www.facebook.com/groups/345408365593244/.

There will be a community meeting at the Los Coches Creek Middle School located at 9669 Dunbar Ln., El Cajon, CA at 7:00 pm today hosted by the Cal Fire IncidentManagement Team with an update on the Border Fire.  Representatives from agencies managing and supporting the incident as well as local dignitaries will provide a briefing and answer questions.  Public inquiries regarding the Community Meeting or Fire Information, please call 2-1-1.

“The fire still remains a threat to the communities of Lake Morena Village, Campo as well as the outlying recreational assets as the fire continues to move north and northeast. This is still a dynamic and active fire, residents in the surrounding area of the fire should continue to be prepared to evacuate if need be,” Cal Fire’s latest update reads.

FIVE HOMES LOST IN BORDER FIRE; BLAZE 20% CONTAINED

East County News Service

 

June 22, 2016, 8 p.m. (San Diego's East County ) -- Cal Fire reports that the Border Fire is 6,723 acres and 20 percent contained. Five homes total were destroyed; two of the homes were primary dwelling units and three homes were second dwelling units/guest houses. No information is avalable yet on the locations of homes that burned.

1900 firefighters are assigned to battle the blaze, including crews from Lakeside Fire (photo, left) who worked to cut a firebreak today.

The Potrero Branch Library will re-open on Thursday, June 23, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. as a Cool Zone. No data or WiFi service will be available at the library. Cool Zones can help you beat the heat. A complete list can be found here.

EVACUATION ORDERS LIFTED FOR WESTERN POTRERO

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

June 22, 2016 (Potrero) --CAL FIRE reports that an evacuation order has been lifted for the following areas for some Potrero residents at 4 p.m. and for the general public at 6 p.m.:

  • West of Potrero Valley Road at Potrero Valley
  • West of Potrero General Store at 25125 State Route 94, including the north and south sides of State Route 94
  • Potrero County Park

Residents who live in this area will be allowed back in with photo identification. ll other evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect.

CAL FIRE also reported the following road closures:

ANIMALS DYING IN POTRERO,OFFICIALS REFUSE ACCESS TO AID LIVESTOCK AND PETS IN EVACUATION AREA

 

Update:  June 22,2016 2 p.m.:  County Animal Services Director Dan DeSouza provided this update: "We have already delivered supplies to Iris and can deliver more if necessary. It is inherent upon the animal owners to contact us either directly or through someone that has phone service to provide us with their address, types of animals, and numbers of each.  We have teams in the evacuation areas for the past few days providing food and water to those animals that we know of.  s for the chicken ranch, the San Diego Humane Society had taken their generator out to the site on Monday.  I  being told that the owner was allowed on the property yesterday and that water has also been provided. We are doing everything within our powers to rescue any animal that is in danger and to provide food and water to those left behind that are safe."

By Miriam Raftery (file photo)

June 22,2016 (Potrero) – A humanitarian crisis is occurring in Potrero, where fire and law enforcement authorities continue to deny access to residents seeking to bring in feed and water for pets and livestock that are dying  of neglect in triple-digit heat within the evacuation area for the Border Fire.

Within the past hour, Colin Richard posted this message on the Potrero Town Feed on Facebook:

CHICKEN FARMER DEVASTATED BY LOSSES--AGAIN

 

By Miriam Raftery

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.

1,000 STRUCTURES THREATENED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Richard Edwords

Update June 22, 2016 7:45 a.m.:  The size of the fire is 6,500 acres as of 7 a.m. today and it is now 15% contained.

June 21, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- 9 p.m.--Tonight Cal Fire indicates the Border Fire has been mapped at a reduced acreage estimate of 6,020 acres.  The fire is now 10% contained. Approximately 1,000 structures remain threatened but no homes have burned, though 4 outbuildings were lost.



Our media outlet has learned from multiple sources of a desperate need for water and food for people, pets and livestock in Potrero, where many animals have already perished. People who evacuated and were unable to bring animals with them, or who were away when the fire started, were not allowed entry by authorities into the evacuation area due to concerns over shifting winds and the potential for fire to return. One chicken ranch has had many thousands of birds die, multiple sources told ECM. Dogs, pigs, horses and other animals remain at risk, some with no food and no water. In response to our inquiry, Michele Clock with the County called and said the County will try to get help tomorrow.

ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS, NEIGHBORS COME TO RESCUE OF PETS AND LIVESTOCK IN BORDER FIRE

 

Photos: Animal Control officers comfort rescue rabbits; dogs rescued from Border Fire

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - County animal control officers have carried out dozens of rescues of animals threatened by the Border Fire including everything from dogs and cats to sheep, horses and chickens. View video of rescue efforts: https://youtu.be/6lE-IwzbO04?t=16 . If you have animals left behind in the evacuation area that need food and water, call the county’s 24-hour emergency dispatch unit at 619-236-2341. 

UPDATE ON SCHOOLS AND GRADUATION SERVICE IN MOUNTAIN EMPIRE DISTRICT

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – All schools in the Mountain Empire school district remain closed today due to the Border Fire.   The Mountain Empire High School graduation is tentatively set to be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. contingent on air quality and fire conditions. 

BORDER FIRE HOLDING AT 7500 ACRES, CAL FIRE REPORTS TODAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Cal Fire has issued an update at 11:32 a.m. advising the Border Fire is holding at 7500 acres, but still only 5% contained. Evacuation orders remain in place for Forest Gate, Star Ranch, Cowboy Ranch, Dog Patch and Canyon City.  The Red Cross has an evacuation shelter set up at Los Coches Creek Middle School at 9669 Dunbar Lane in El Cajon.

7,500 ACRES CONSUMED BY BORDER FIRE; 5%CONTAINED

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Sparks across roadway driving through the Border Fire, by Richard Edwords

New fires are burning in Mexico near the border

June 20,2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The Border Fire has swelled to 7,500 acres and is still only 5% contained, Cal Fire announced this evening, adding,  “Triple digit temperatures and single digit humidity is creating extreme fire behavior and increased activity is being experienced.”

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for Potrero,Forest Gate, Star Ranch, Cowboy Ranch. Dog Patch and Canyon City communities.  An overnight evacuation shelter is set up at Los Coches Creek Middle school at 9669 Dunbar Lane in El Cajon.

Two new fires, possibly ignited by sparks from the Border Fire, are now burning in Mexico within a couple of miles from the international border south of the Border Fire conflagration.

Jan Hedlun in Potrero warns that people who did not evacuate when instructed by authorities are now facing restrictions. “Once you leave they won't let you return and many of us have livestock or animals we're tending,”she says.”My well meter has melted so no water at the house but friends dropped off a bunch of water. The worst of times brings out the best in people!”

EVACUATIONS ORDERED IN CAMPO, POSSIBLE EVACUATIONS NEXT IN LAKE MORENA

By Miriam Raftery

June 20, 2016 (Campo)--Cal Fire has ordered mandatory evacuations of Star Ranch, Forest Gate, Canyon City, Dogpatch and Cowboy Ranch in the Campo area due to the Border Fire.

Scanner traffic indicates an advisory evacuation in Lake Morena.

A red flag alert is in effect per the National Weather Service. 

Below is more info from the Sheriff earlier today on the fire that has scorched 1900 acres and is 5% contained:

BORDER FIRE IN POTRERO NOW 1,500 ACRES, EVACUATION CENTERS OPEN

Update 10 p.m. The fire is 5% contained and a firefighter has been injured, CalFire reports. An emergency overnight shelter is open at Campo Elementary School, 1654 Buckman Springs Rd.in Campo.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: air tanker battles the Border Fire, by Leon Thompson

June 19, 2016 (Potrero) --As of 7:20 tonight, the fast-growing Border Fire has charred 1,500 acres and led to mandatory evacuation orders for the entire town of Potrero, per Cal Fire.  Structures are threatened. 

Residents fleeing the Border Fire can now go to these evacuation centers:  Campo Community Center ( Cool Zone )  at 300 Sheridan Rd, Campo Elementary School ( Red Cross Shelter ) at 1654 Buckman Springs Rd, or the Dulzura Community Center at 1136 Community Building Road off State Route 94 (note corrected address). This information has been verified through Red Cross and Campo Community Center employees.  The Sheriff reports a third evacuation center opened at Campo Elementary School, 1654 Buckman Springs Road, Campo.

If you need emergency assistance in evacuation, call 9-1-1. If you need additional information, check the San Diego County Emergency website at www.sdcountyemergency.com or call the San Diego Sheriff's Department non-emergency line at 858-565-5200.  For help with large animal evacuations due to , call the San Diego County Animal Services at (619) 236-2341.  Follow additoinal updates on Twitter at .

Road closures in effect on Highway 94 are changing rapidly as the fire moves.  Get the latest traffic and road closure information at https://cad.chp.ca.gov/Traffic.aspx.  Here are closures as of now:

BRUSH FIRE IN POTRERO: EVACUATIONS AND HIGHWAY CLOSURE

 

NOTE: We have posted a new article with the latest updates on this fast-growing fire.  New updates will be posted here:  http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/border-fire-potrero-now-1500-acres-eva...

 

Follow us on Twitter at EastCountyAlert for the most timely updates. Please post any info you have in the comments section below our story.  You can email photos to editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

BLACKWATER GUARDS SENTENCED: 30 YEARS TO LIFE FOR MASSACRE IN IRAQ

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  East County residents celebrated Blackwater halting plans to build a training camp in Potrero in 2008.

April 15, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Many in East County recall the successful battle wagered by rural residents here to halt a Blackwater paramilitary training camp from being built in Potrero.   Just months before Blackwater announced plans to cancel the Potrero project in 2008, news broke that Blackwater guards had been accused of massacring innocent civilians in Iraq’s Nisour Square on September 16, 2007.

PASSAGES: ACCLAIMED POTRERO POET STEVE KOWIT

 

April 3, 2015 (Potrero) – Steve Kowit, well-known poet, author, teacher and Potrero resident, passed away this morning following heart surgery  Kowit taught at Southwestern College and San Diego State University, mentored many, and inspired a generation of local writers through his teaching, readings and writings.

He was distinguished by his many awards for poetry, which include the National Endowment Fellowship in Poetry, two Pushcart Prizes, the Atlanta Review Poetry Prize, the Ouroboros Book Award, the 2006 Tampa Review Poetry Prize, and most recently the San Diego Theodore Geisel Award.

MAN ARRESTED FOR MURDER IN POTRERO

 

East County News Service

March 23, 2015 (Potrero) – The Sheriff’s homicide unit are investigating the shooting death of a man at 23531 Coyote Holler Road in Potrero.

Deputies responded to a call at 6:47 p.m. from Mike Walliser, who stated that he shot another man due to threats the victim had made against Walliser. When a deputy arrived, he was flagged down by Walliser, who surrendered without incident.

FEDS SEIZE PROPERTY OF POTRERO RANCHER CONVICTED OF ALIEN SMUGGLING

 

East County News Service

December 12, 2014 (Potrero) – A federal jury yesterday has Potrero resident Kala Rains, 47, on seven counts of conspiracy and alien smuggling.  The ranch used by Rains and co-conspirators to harbor undocumented immigrants should be forfeited to the U.S. government, jurors determined following a trial before Judge Anthony Battaglia.

EAST COUNTY VINTNER'S HARVEST CELEBRATION OCT. 11

 

 

September 20, 2014 (Potrero) –You’re invited to join the East County Vintners Wine Group for its second annual Mountain Empire Country Harvest Celebration on Saturday, October 11 from 12 noon to sundown. The festivities take place at the Jim and Janet Wright Ranch and Vineyard in scenic Potrero, just 30 minutes east from Jamul off Highway 94/Campo Road. Smokey barbecue with all the trimmings and wine sampling by local vineyards and wineries are among the activities, along with a silent auction and door prizes.

MOUNTAIN EMPIRE COUNTRY HARVEST: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11 AT WRIGHT RANCH IN POTRERO

 

August 22, 2014 (Potrero) – A charity event benefitting St. Adelaide of Burgundy, Mountain Empire Historical Society and St. Mary Magdalene, will be held at the Wright Ranch (formerly the McCain, Pearson & Williams Ranch) in Potrero, California.

U.S. INVESTIGATOR SAYS BLACKWATER THREATENED HIM WITH DEATH TO HALT STATE DEPT PROBE IN IRAQ

 

 

East County News Service

Photo, left: Carl Meyer, leader of successful "stop Blackwater" effort in Potrero at a 2008 victory celebration

July 6, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--Blackwater, the private military contractor that has sparked considerably controversy through the years, is back in the headlines.Many East County residents recall the successful battle waged by residents in rural Potrero to prevent Blackwater from building a paramilitary training camp in San Diego's backcountry. 

Potrero residents held a recall election and removed all five planning group members who voted for the Blackwater facility and staged a march through adjacent federal forest lands that would be threatened by the project, drawing international attention before Blackwater ultimately withdrew its plans.

Now, the New York Times reports that around that same time back in 2007, Blackwater blocked a State Department inquiry into allegations of violence against civilians in Iraq by the company’s personnel.  The investigation was halted after Blackwater’s top manager in Iraq threatened that he “could kill” the government’s chief investigator—and that “no one could or would do anything about it” according to State Department reports, the New York Times article states.

MEDIEVAL BATTLES TAKE STAGE IN POTRERO MAY 24-25

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 23, 2014 (Potrero) – Relive the days of chivalry this weekend at Potrero County Park, where the Society for Creative Anachronism will stage a medieval battle May 24 and 25 from 11 a.m. to sunset.  This visit to the Barony of Calafia is a free event with vendors, staged fighting events, and instruction. Visitors are invited to wear period attire to fit in with the festivities. 

 The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Our “Known World” consists of 19 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which feature tournaments, royal courts, feasts, dancing, various classes & workshops, and more.

ANIMAL SERVICES RESCUES HORSE AFTER FALL INTO BOULDER-FILLED RAVINE IN POTRERO

 

April 25, 2014 (Potrero)--A horse found injured and bleeding after a fall down a deep ravine Thursday evening in Potrero is now recovering from its injuries at the County Animal Services shelter in Bonita.

EAST COUNTY FISHERMEN REPORT THEY WERE SHOT AT ON SAN DIEGO RIVER

 

Photo courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

April 9, 2014 (San Diego) – Two East County men told police that several shots were fired at them while they were fishing in a canoe along the San Diego River near the Friars Road overpass on Monday . 

The men said they jumped into the water and swam to shore, dodging more bullets. They believe someone was intentionally aiming to harm them.

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