Lake Morena

NINE DAMS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY RANKED BELOW SATISFACTORY ON SAFETY, NEWLY RELEASED STATE DATA REVEALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Billy Ortiz: El Capitan Dam in Lakeside, ranked “fair” for safety, has an “extremely high “downstream hazard status for potential loss of life and property damage.

September 2, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - The State of California on Friday released data on dam safety in California which found nine percent of dams statewide fall below satisfactory and could pose potential hazards in severe storms or earthquakes—including nine dams in San Diego County.

CAMPO-LAKE MORENA PLANNING GROUP AGENDA AUGUST 28 INCLUDES DISCUSSION OF COUNTY CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN

 

East County Magazine

August 24, 2017 (Campo-Lake Morena) -- The Campo-Lake Morena Community Planning Group meeting on August 28  will include discussion of a formal planning group response to  the County's proposed climate action plan. Other key items include review of applicants for a vacancy, an update on transfer of lands for Camp Lockett, and more.  Click here to view the full agenda as a full-sized pdf document.

You can also scroll down to view the full agenda in a slightly smaller format.

ILLEGAL SKY LANTERNS LAUNCHED IN LAKE MORENA VILLAGE RAISE FIRE CONCERNS

 

 

Users could be prosecuted and held liable for damages; sky lanterns have caused fires and serious harm elsewhere

By Miriam Raftery

July 27, 2017 (Lake Morena Village) – Residents in Lake Morena Village are fired up over dangers posed by illegal sky lanterns, also known as Chinese lanterns, launched in the area in recent weeks.  Sky lanterns are illegal in at least 30 states, including California due to fire dangers.

Claudia Millerbragg, moderator of the Campo-Lake Morena Neighborhood Watch Forum, says she found one in her yard about three months ago. Since then, she told East County Magazine,  “Community members have seen four different ones in the sky in the past couple of weeks. Usually Saturday night.”

Millerbragg says she spoke with Captain Cox at the Lake Morena Fire Station.  “This is what he stated,” she posted on the Neighborhood Watch Facebook page yesterday. “1. If a fire lantern lands in your yard, pick it up with gloves on and put in a paper bag. Call the station or main Calfire number. 2. Video any lantern being lit or just leaving property. Call 911. And it is against the law to fire off the lantern.”

CAMPO-LAKE MORENA PLANNING GROUP AGENDA JULY 24 INCLUDES FILLING VACANCY ON BOARD, STAR RANCH UPDATE AND MORE

 

 

 

 

 

East County Magazine

July 19, 2017 (Campo-Lake Morena) – The Campo Lake Morena Planning Group has announced a new vacancy on the board.  (See details, left, on how to apply and get application at www.sandiegocounty.gov/pds/communitygroups.html.)

The agenda for the July 24 meeting includes voting on filling an earlier vacancy.  Other agenda items include an update on Backcountry Land Trust negotiations to acquire Star Ranch,  a proposed agricultural clearing permit for property on Buckman Springs Road, and subcommittee reports on topics ranging from groundwater issues to traffic and public safety.

View full agenda below:

HELICOPTER TRAFFIC, PARKS AND MORE ON CAMPO LAKE MORENA PLANNING GROUP’S AGENDA APRIL 24

 

East County News Service

April 22, 2017 (Campo-Lake Morena) – The Campo Lake Morena Planning Group meets Monday, April 24th at 7 p.m. at the Mountain Empire Community Center (976 Seridan Rd., Campo).   

The agenda includes a discussion about low-flying military helicopters over communities, a proposed change in state law regarding parks funding, and a review of applicants for a board vacancy.  Applications are still being accepted. 

Scroll down to view full agenda.

FLOAT YOUR BOAT AT RAIN-RESTORED LAKE MORENA

 

East County News Service

Boats, float tubes, canoes and kayaks are once again allowed after rains raised water levels

April 5, 2017 (Lake Morena) – For the first time in years, the boat launch at Lake Morena County Park is now open—and the county encourages you to gather up your fishing rods and bait for a day of fishing and fun.

DESPITE RAINS, THREE EAST COUNTY RESERVOIRS REMAIN AT VERY LOW LEVELS

 

Dam upgrades slated to begin at Lake Morena in 2018, but there’s no guarantee water levels will ever be restored

By Miriam Raftery

January 12, 2017 (Lake Morena) --  Even after heavy rainfalls doused our region,  three East County Reservoirs remain at very low levels.  As of January 9th, Lake Morena is at  just 2.1 percent of capacity, Barrett Lake is att 5.5 percent, and Sutherland 7.3 percent of capacity, according to the City of San Diego.

These are the only local reservoirs not connected to the State Water Project system of canals and aqueducts, thus they are solely dependent on rainfall  which has not been enough to replenish large quantities pumped out by the City of San Diego to meet its thirst for water.

BOIL WATER ORDER AND PUBLIC NOTIFICATION FOR THE LAKE MORENA COUNTY PARK WATER SYSTEM

 

Source: County of San Diego

November 18, 2016 (Campo) - The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a Boil Water Order and Public Notification for the Lake Morena County Park water system located at 2550 Lake Morena Drive in Campo, CA 91906, effective immediately. The water system is designed to provide potable water for a campground with 86 camper sites, ranger office, 4 fulltime residents, 7 volunteer RV pads and 2 public restrooms.

WHITEWASH? COUNTY’S BORDER FIRE REPORT IGNORES SERIOUS CONCERNS RAISED BY RESIDENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Richard Edwords: Harrowing ride along State Route 94 during Border Fire

 

September 15, 2016  (San Diego’s East County) – The County’s Border Fire 2016 After Action Report  presents a review on the regional response to the Border Fire that ignores many serious complaints lodged by rural residents in the fire. The report was written entirely by official agencies and  does not include concerns raised by the public, leading rural planning officials,  residents and a community news editor to contend the county whitewashed their concerns.

 The blaze killed two people , destroyed five homes and left countless animals without care in triple-digit heat while residents were refused access  for days after the fire. While residents praise efforts of firefighters who worked valiantly to prevent worse losses, many feel betrayed by officials in the wake of the Border Fire report and other complaints that residents say have yielded little or no meaningful changes.

The report omits entirely any mention of controversies over the deaths of Potrero residents Jim and Kyrie Keefe,  whose bodies were found by community volunteers.  Agencies praised themselves in the report, while omitting criticisms on issues such as lack of  adequate care for animals stranded in triple-digit heat and inadequate evacuation notifications -- in some cases, just yellow caution tape stuck on mailboxes, with no explanation or direct contact with residents in danger after their phone lines, cell towers and Internet service all  went down in communities such as Potrero and Lake Morena.

HELP THE ENVIRONMENT--BE GREEN! DISPOSE OF HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS FREE ON SEPT. 17 IN POTRERO

 

 

 

August 25, 2016 (Potrero) --Residents in the  Potrero area /unincorporated San Diego East County are encouraged to use the County’s one-day household hazardous waste collection event Sept. 17 at the Old County Fire Station in Potrero.

Did you know?  Many products used in the home may be hazardous to people, pets or the environment and should not be thrown in the trash or dumped down the sewer or storm drains.  While it is always best to use up your household chemical products, the County of  San Diego’s Department of Environmental Health would like to notify you of a one-day collection event where residents living in the unincorporated county can bring their household chemicals for proper disposal or recycling—for free!

PETITION LAUNCHED TO SAVE EAST COUNTY LAKES--AND PROTECT LIVES DURING WILDFIRES

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2016 (Lake Morena) – An online petition has been launched asking the City of San Diego to stop draining Lake Morena and Barrett Lake. Rural residents seek help from San Diego residents and all who are concerned about wildlife or the prospect of a devastating firestorm to sign the petition.

The petition, posted by Campo resident Karen Noblitt-McIntyre, accuses San Diego officials of ignoring public safety, noting that two residents died during the recent Border Fire. Firefighting aircraft were diverted to water sources farther away due to lack of water in these lakes, witnesses stated in recent public meetings.

The petition states that the city has put wildlife and rural communities at risk, also failing to live up to its promise to repair the dam at Lake Morena. The city drained Lake Morena to less than 3% of capacity and Barrett Lake to below 6% of capacity, public records indicate.  Although San Diego claimed it needed drinking water during the drought, the city did not ask its residents to conserve water before draining East County’s lakes.  The water was pumped to Otay reservoir, which overfilled when rain fell, so the city dumped the precious water supply into the ocean.

READER’S EDITORIAL: SAN DIEGO LACKS ADEQUATE RESERVOIRS, VICTIMIZES LAKE MORENA

 

By George Barnett

Photo:  Cabin with former lakefront view now overlooks a barren wasteland.

July 13, 2016 (Lake Morena) -- East County Magazine did a recent piece on Lake Morena and whether water levels were maintained too low to be a viable source of water for fire-fighting.  In the article, Billie Jo Jannen is quoted as saying if there’s a safety issue it needs to be examined.  Billie Jo is quite right.

CITY OFFERS SHALLOW RESPONSE TO SERIOUS CONCERNS OVER LAKE MORENA WATER LEVELS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 12, 2016 (Lake Morena) – The City of San Diego has no plans to restore water levels in Lake Morena or take any actions whatsoever to remedy the harm done to the community by draining the lake—despite residents who have stated there was not enough water in the Lake for firefighting helicopters during the Border Fire, which killed two people and burned five homes, as ECM reported.

IN CAMPO, RESIDENTS AIR COMPLAINTS OVER BORDER FIRE ISSUES

 

Update: The Sheriff's office has responded to concerns raised at the Campo-Lake Morena meeting. View the response from Captain Hank Turner here:  http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/rural-fire-sheriff%E2%80%99s-office-re...

By Miriam Raftery

July 10,2016 (Campo) –At a packed meeting of the Campo-Lake Morena Community Planning Group this week, attendees spoke out to voice anger over officials’ treatment of residents during the  Border Fire, particularly issues involving law enforcement officers and County Animal Control. Chair Billie Jo Jannen stated, “We need to channel this outrage”  and circulated a draft letter to be sent to Supervisor Dianne Jacob following any changes after the public’s statements.

The first portion of the meeting focused on issues of not enough water in Lake Morena to fight the fires. (See our article on the Lake Morena issues here.)  The next agenda item focused on other Border Fire issues.

At a table in the back sat several  women who found the bodies of Jim and Kyrie Keefe during a search conducted by volunteers 10 days after the fire at the site where they lived in Dogpatch, just  east of Potrero. They voiced outrage over the fact that despite complaints to officials who did too little, too late, it fell to women volunteers to find the bodies.  The couple died of smoke inhalation in between boulders behind their home, where they apparently tried to take shelter during the wildfire.

NOT ENOUGH WATER IN LAKE MORENA TO FIGHT BORDER FIRE, RESIDENTS SAY

 

“Precious moments were lost and that caused the fire to get out of control…Lives have been lost that may have been saved if they had been able to get water out of Lake Morena and not burned 6,000 acres in less than 12 hours.”—Karen McIntyre, Campo

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Karen McIntyre displays photos of Lake Morena before and after the City of San Diego drained away over 97% of the water.

July 8, 2016 (Campo)—At a heated meeting of the Campo-Lake Morena Community Planning Group,  residents vented anger over the loss of homes and lives during the Border Fire.  Some fault the City of San Diego for draining Lake Morena, claiming lack of water delayed firefighting aircraft responses.

The residents are demanding changes—and some are talking about legal remedies to take back control of their local water supply.

BORDER FIRE SURVIVORS SHARE CONCERNS, OUTRAGE AT MEETING WITH SUPERVISOR JACOB, FIRE AND SHERIFF OFFICIALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 30, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Emotions ran high at a community meeting on Border Fire issues convened by Supervisor Dianne Jacob this morning at the Barrett Junction Café in Dulzura.

 Rural residents praised efforts of firefighters, but voiced frustrations and pointed criticisms over problems that arose including lack of adequate care for animals in the evacuated areas and at shelters. communications failures, and inadequate help to locate a missing couple found dead yesterday by volunteer searchers in Potrero.

Jacob  converted a  previously planned coffee with the community event into a forum for the public to air concerns and for officials to respond.  Representatives from Cal Fire and the Sheriff’s Department turned out, but Animal Services did not.  “Not being here is not a good thing,” Jacob said of Animal Services, adding that she has heard many complaints from rural residents about both Animal Services and the Sheriff’s Department.

COUNTY TAKES ACTION TO WAIVE FEES FOR BORDER FIRE SURVIVIORS TO REBUILD, ALSO PROVIDE BINS FOR DEBRIS

 

East County News Service

Photo: Day 2 of the Border Fire, Cal-Fire

June 28,2016 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to help those who lost homes or buildings in the Border Fire. The County will waive fees for building permits and plan-check reviews. 

Fees will only be waived for structures that were legally permitted originally, prior to the fire. The Board’s Tuesday action would also distribute trash bins to people in the fire areas to help them clear debris.

The Border Fire started June 19th and over the past 10 days has charred over 7,600 acres, destroyed five homes and 11 outbuildings. CAL FIRE reported Tuesday that the Border fire, which grew to 7,609 acres, was 92 percent contained.

“It’s an absolute tragedy for anyone who has lost everything,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, whose district includes the Potrero, Campo and Lake Morena communities ravaged by the Border Fire.

HELP NEEDED FOR RESIDENTS AND ANIMALS IN CAMPO, LAKE MORENA

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Rapture's Horse Rescue joined efforts led by Deerhorn Valley Antler editor Kim Hamilton with help from local community members and businesses to bring supplies to Potrero

June 25, 2016 (Campo/LakeMorena) – With the Border Fire now 70% contained, relief efforts continue.  Shontel Grivno at Rapture’s Horse Rescue Foundation sent us the following e-mail this morning asking for supplies of non-perishable foods, water  propane and animal feed for fire survivors, livestock and pets in the Campo/Lake Morena communities:

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

Appreciate our alerts?  Please donate to help us continue keeping you safe and informed during emergencies!  Click here to make a donation or a monthly pledge to help sustain our East County Alerts and wildfire  news reporting: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/donate

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.

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

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) 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.

MANDATORY EVACUATION ISSUED FOR LAKE MORENA

 

Update 3:10 p.m.  The San Diego County Sheriff’s Office has issued an additional evacuation order for the following area. The area of the evacuation order is within the following boundaries; Pacific Crest Trail to the south, Buckman Springs Road to the east from Lake Morena Dr. to Morena Valley Road, Moreno Stokes Valley Road (Corral Canyon) at Sky Ranch (Sky Valley Road) to the west and Moreno Stokes Valley Road (Corral Canyon) at Buckman Springs Road  to the east.

New road closure is located at Buckman Springs Road at Old Buckman Springs.

 

Additional public information regarding the Border Fire can be obtained by calling 2-1-1. Continue to follow updates of the incident on the twitter account  @calfiresandiego.

East County News Service

June 21, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - An update about the Border Fire has been issued.  Lake Morena residents on the Campo/Lake Morena Neighborhood Watch Facebook page have posted that they have received calls and text alerts that a mandatory evacuation has been issued for Lake Morena.

EVACUATION WARNINGS ISSUED FOR LAKE MORENA, CAMPO: 800 STRUCTURES STILL THREATENED

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Border Fire, Day 1, by Leon Thompson

June 21,2016 (Lake Morena/Campo) 1:30 p.m. – An evacuation warning has been issued for Lake Morena and Campo, Cal Fire has announced.  Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for Potrero,Forrest Gate, Star Ranch, Cowboy Ranch,Dog Patch and Canyon City.

800 structures remain threatened and 4 outbuildings have been destroyed. Highway 94 is closed west of Buckman Springs to state route 188. The Pacific Coast Trail is also closed to hikers. 

“The fire continues to move to the north and northeast,threatening portions of the Pacific Crest National Scenic trail as well as surrounding communities,” a Border 3 Fire Update issued by Cal Fire states.

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:

CITY NO LONGER DRAINING LAKE MORENA RESERVOIR

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draining stopped days after our radio broadcast and coverage

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2016 (Lake Morena) – Back in February 2014, we ran a story exposing Lake Morena residents’ criticisms of the City of San Diego for draining the Lake Morena Reservoir down to a mere puddle of its former self.  We also aired a radio interview (listen at link) with area residents and a city representative, which won an award from Society of Professional Journalists for best talk radio broadcast. 

After the recent rains, the water level at Lake Morena is still only 2.6 percent of capacity. But here’s some good news for lakefront residents: Kurt Kidman, public information officer for the City, advised East County Magazine this week, “With respect to Morena Reservoir, the City stopped drafting water out of Morena Reservoir back in February 2014 and we have not resumed any drafting since.”

In our radio interview aired that same month, a city official admitted that San Diego had done essentially nothing to ask its citizens to conserve water before making its decision to decimate a lake popular with recreational users, eliminate wildlife habitat and negatively impact the lifestyle and property values for years  to come.

CAMPO-LAKE MORENA ANNUAL ROUNDUP MAY 2

 

April 19, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - The 9th annual Campo-Lake Morena Roundup is set to be held on Saturday, May 2nd at the Camp Lockett Event and Equesterian Facility (799 Forrest Gate Rd.) in Campo. Gates open at 7 a.m. with opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. and presentation of this year’s grand marshall at 10 a.m. Period costumes are welcome.

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