May 15, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--The California State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal-Fire) plans to hold a special meeting this Wednesday to receive public input on draft regulations as part of ABX1 29, better known as the $150 annual parcel tax or "triple" fire tax for properties within the state’s area of responsibility.
The meeting will be held this Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors chamber at the County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway in San Diego.
Update May 6: Staff has now recommended that Chief Ghio be kept on at up to 40-hours a week (maximum of 960 hours through Dec. 31), which the District refers to as "part-time." Under the plan he would be paid his existing hourly contract rate as an annuitant in addition to his pensions. The Board next meets on Wednesday, May 9 with public session at 6:30 p.m.
By Miriam Raftery
May 5, 2012 (Spring Valley) – In a letter submitted to the San Miguel Consolidated Fire District board, Fire Chief August”Augie” Ghio has announced he will retire May 16th. His letter leaves open the possibility of being rehired as Interim Fire Chief while the District weighs whether or not to outsource its fire services to the state through Cal-Fire.
The prospect has led to some heated commentary.
May 2, 2012 (El Cajon) -- The 22nd Heartland Fire Academy graduation was held April 28th at the Ronald Reagan Community in El Cajon. A total of twenty-four graduates successfully completed 16-weeks of intense firefighter training at the Heartland Training facility in El Cajon in conjunction with San Diego Miramar College. The San Diego Firefighters Emerald Society Pipes & Drums Band led the graduates in as the ceremony began.
April 28, 2012 After more than 60 years of service, the Warner Springs Fire Station has been replaced by a state of the art facility. The $2.7 million dollar facility was funded by a state bond.
"What they did tonight is unconscionable." --Board member Criss Brainard
"We have to fix this now." --Board President Chris Winters
By Miriam Raftery
April 25, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Despite unanimous testimony by the public and firefighters in opposition, the San Miguel Consolidated Fire District board voted 4-3 tonight to enter into negotiations with Cal-Fire and with labor to turn firefighting services over to the state agency.
SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT HOSTS COMMUNITY MEETING APRIL 17 TO DISCUSS OUTSOURCING SERVICES TO CAL-FIRE
April 9, 2012 (La Mesa) – The San Miguel Fire Protection District will host a community meeting from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on April 17 at Foothills United Methodist Church, 4031 Avocado Blvd., La Mesa. The meeting will provide residents a State of the District presentation and discuss the Request for Proposal submission from CAL FIRE for the outsourcing of the district’s fire protection.
Outraged? Scroll down to learn how to take action.
By Miriam Raftery
April 8, 2012 (San Diego) Updated April 10, 2012-- At the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) public meeting this week in San Diego, Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey and CPUC Comissioner Timothy Simon heard from hundreds of area residents, including tearful testimony by numerous victims of the 2007 firestorms. Some held twisted burned remnants of their lost homes. Others recalled friends who perished in the flames.
But the most explosive testimony came from former City Attorney Mike Aguirre, who declared, “This decision is already made.” He then leveled accusations that the two CPUC represenstatives present, Commissioner Timothy Simon and Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey, are beholden to SDG&E and subverted the legal interests of fire victims and ratepayers.
Supervisor warns of ‘purchased’ testimony from groups receiving SDG&E funding
SAN DIEGO— San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob is set to ask state regulators to reject a proposal by SDG&E that would force ratepayers to shoulder the costs of the 2007 wildfires and future wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission is holding public hearings on the matter tomorrow at the Al Bahr Shriners Memorial Auditorium, 5440 Kearny Mesa Road, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
March 31, 2012 (Alpine) -- The Alpine Fire Protection District is pleased to announce the purchase of new carbon monoxide detectors and a new roof ventilation prop.
March 25, 2012 (Otay) A brush fire that began in a canyon at 5353 Airway Road in the Otay area is being fed by heavy winds, Incident Page Network reports. A helicopter has been requested to aid with water drops at 4:56 p.m.
CPUC TO HOLD 2 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION HEARINGS ON SDG&E REQUEST TO CHARGE RATEPAYERS FOR WILDFIRE COSTS
PARADISE PLUNDERED: BOOK REVEALS POLITICAL MISMANGEMENT HAS LEFT SAN DIEGO REGION STILL VULNERABLE TO CATASTROPHIC WILDFIRE
CPUC WILL HOLD HEARING IN SAN DIEGO APRIL 5 ON SDG&E REQUEST TO CHARGE RATEPAYERS FOR WILDFIRE COSTS
February 24, 2012 (San Diego)—San Diego County residents will finally have a chance to tell the California Public Utilities Commission what they think about San Diego Gas & Electric’s proposal to charge ratepayers $463.9 million for the utility’s uninsured losses due to the 2007 wildfires caused by its poorly maintained power lines.
Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon will hold a public participation hearing on April 5 from 4-9 p.m. at the Al Bar Shriner Auditorium , 4330 Kearny Mesa Road in San Diego.
The announcement follows a February 21, 2012 “Turko Files” KUSI TV investigative report which revealed over a dozen private meetings in which SDG&E executives wined and dined CPUC Commissioner Simon, who is acting as a judge on this matter: http://www.kusi.com/story/16988213/almost-anything-goes.
By Miriam Raftery
February 23, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Facing a $1.3 million budget deficit, San Miguel Fire District has announced it will accept request for proposals (RFPs) to potentially outsource services including firefighting and fire prevention—core operations for the beleaguered district.
The news ires some district residents, who contend that taxpayers are getting burned.
LEGAL ACTION BY FIRE VICTIMS SEEKS TO BLOCK SDG&E EFFORT TO FORCE RATEPAYERS TO PAY WILDFIRE COSTS INCURRED BY UTILITY
2 other utilities have withdrawn requests to make ratepayers pay for wildfire damages
By Miriam Raftery
February 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—A motion has been filed on behalf of 2007 wildfire victims whose properties were destroyed or damaged in the 2007 Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon Fires caused by San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s power lines.
The motion claims SDG&E did not provide proper notice to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about a proposed “wildfire expense balancing account” – a rate hike that would force the public including fire victims to pay SDG&E’s uninsured liability costs for massive wildfires that it caused.
February 9, 2012 (Oceanside) – A major brush fire, now 25 acres, is burning on Camp Pendleton at Las Flores Road and Range 21, Incident Page Network reported at 10:21 p.m. Fire officials have requested strike teams immediately with mutual aid from Escondido and Vista Fire Departments.
February 1, 2012 (El Cajon)--The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is all about being prepared for a disaster, such as an earthquake, firestorm or house fire. This FREE preparedness education program offers residents the knowledge and tools they'll need in the event of a disaster. The first academy is now full, but there are two more academies being offered for 2012. Pick the one that best fits your schedule, and call (619) 441-1737 to register. Please leave your name and best contact phone number. Hurry, classes will fill quickly.
February 1, 2012 (Ramona) – The California Department of Fish and Game announced today that its wardens have arrested Jacob Thogmartin, 26, of Ramona on suspicion of setting a fire in a wildlife area filled with hunters early Saturday morning. The blaze, which extended into the night, charred 650 acres.
January 27, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for Saturday due to high winds and warm, dry weather that will create “explosive fire growth potential.”
SDG&E WANTS RATEPAYERS TO PAY FOR ITS WILDFIRE LIABILITY COSTS: FIRE VICTIMS ASK PUBLIC TO URGE CPUC TO HOLD HEARING IN SAN DIEGO
By Miriam Raftery
January 19, 2012 (Ramona) – In hearings last week in San Francisco before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), SDG&E revealed that it wants to charge San Diego County ratepayers nearly half a billion dollars to recoup the utility’s uninsured costs for settling claims involving the 2007 Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon wildfires. The utility seeks to establish a Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA)—a plan that has outraged some local fire victims.
Now they're fighting back--and asking the public for help before February 1 to persuade the CPUC to hold a public participation hearing in San Diego.
January 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re seeing smoke over our local mountains, don’t panic. Cal-Fire confirms that it is assisting the Rancho Cuyamaca State Park with a controlled burn today.
IPN indicates the burn is at the Middle Peaks area of the Park.
Amid firefighting cuts, County Fire Chiefs voice concerns
By Megan McGlamery
January 13, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--On January 5, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center released the United States Seasonal Drought Outlook for January 5- March 31. The forecast map reveals that drought is likely in southern California and the southwest. View map.
Restricted water usage and rate hikes were among the impacts the last drought had on local residents. But in East County, drought also brings heightened risk of wildfire-- a potentially alarming prospect at a time when firefighting resources are spread thin.
January 11, 2012 (Sacramento) – California’s Board of Forestry and Fire Protection voted today to approve a revised fire parcel fee on structures in rural areas under jurisdiction of Cal Fire.
The fee, up to $150 per habitable structure, would raise up to $100 million annually for the state, which recently cut firefighting budgets statewide. About two-thirds of impacted property owners, however, will be eligible for a reduced $115 fee if they are covered by a local fire district.
January 10, 2011 (McCain Valley)-- If you see smoke this week, don't panic. Cal-Fire will be conducting a prescribed burn in the area of McCain Valley in San Diego's East County during daylight hours January 11 and January 12. Approximately 90 acres of brush will be burned over the next few days as part of a vegetation managegement burn plan.