July 16, 2011 (Jacumba) -- Wayne Brammer captured these two images of a Cal-Fire crew and a San Diego Sheriff's helicopter in action battling a brush fire near Jacumba this week.
"With all the power lines running all over this area, my hat goes off to all of these guys. The smoke and power lines made it tough," he wrote, adding that he was amazed to see a house still standing after this blaze near Old Highway 80.
July 16, 2011 (Jacumba) -- The Buffalo Fire is 100% contained, after burning 26 acres, Cal-Fire reports today. A total of 211 firefighters fought the blaze at an estimated fire suppression cost of $200,000. Currently 12 engines, 8 fire crews, 1 helicopter, 3 bulldozers, 6 water tenders and 1 chief officer remain at the scene.
July 14, 2011 (Otay) -- San Diego County Crime Stoppers and Chula Vista Police Department investigators seek help to identify suspects in arson fires which recently occurred at an elementary school and nearby canyons in the Otay and Chula Vista areas.
Update 10 p.m. - The fire is now 80% contained, after burning 26 acres and destroying 2 outbuildings, Cal-Fire reports.
July 15, 2011 (Jacumba) – Cal-Fire is on the scene of a 3-acre brush fire off of Old Hwy 80 near the community of Jacumba. Named the Buffalo Fire, the blaze started at 3:22 p.m. and originated from a structure fire.
“Currently we have 8 Engines, 2 Fire Crews, 2 Water Tenders, 1 Bulldozer, 2 Airtankers, 2 Helicopters, and 2 Chief Officers, which is approximately 100 firefighters,” said Cal Fire spokesperson Roxanne Provaznik. “The fire is burning uphill to the south, and spreading slowly. There is one outbuilding and one power pole on fire.”
July 13, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Cal-Fire is combating 100-acre fire in the remote “Tin Can” area in Mexico, east of the Otay port of entry and just south of the border fence.
“We currently have 3 engines, 2 air tankers, 1 air attack and 1 helicopter,” Cal-Fire Captain Mike Mohler said. “Aircraft and crews are pre-treating areas along the fence.”
By Miriam Raftery
July 13, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – As controversy burns around the new fire parcel fee signed into law by Governor Brown, many area residents have asked which communities and what types of structures are subject to the fees. East County Magazine spoke with Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant in Sacramento. We have answers--and a detailed map.
July 6, 2011 (McCain Valley) – Cal-Fire and the San Diego County Fire Authority have announced cancellation of plans to conduct controlled brush fire training tomorrow, July 7, the McCain Valley area of East County. Cal Fire Captain Mike Mohler advises.
June 28, 2011 (Scripps Ranch) – A brush fire at Scripps Ranch Blvd. and Carroll Canyon Road has burned two acres as of 3:25 p.m. A helicopter is now making a water drop and command has requested a brush engine response and arson investigators, Incident Page Network reports.
Final Update: June 22 , 2011 -- The Border 9 Fire that began near In Ko Pah Park Rd, Jacumba in San Diego's East County is now 100% contained. The blaze charred 380 acres (40 in the U.S. and 340 in Mexico), Cal-Fire reports.
June 22, 2011 (San Diego) -- Wildfires are increasing in both absolute number and severity in the American southwest and this trend is predicted to continue over decades to come. Wildfire prevention has now become a major priority, and scientists at the University of California, San Diego have received federal funding to devise descriptive and predictive simulation tools to help prevent or suppress wildfires.
With a one-year grant* from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Cyberinfrastructure, effective June 1, the UC San Diego researchers have opened a new phase for their SDFireSight project. They will develop a technical framework and computer models that will simulate the conditions that can spark a wildfire in San Diego’s ‘backcountry’.
June 21, 2011 (Sacramento) –The budget vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown this week included 19 bills cobbled together into the budget package. Among those was ABx 1 29, which sought to establish an annual $150 fee for homeowners to fund firefighting costs in areas under state (Cal-Fire) jurisdiction.
“Once again, members of California’s desperate legislature are unfairly targeting rural property owners to make up for the State’s inability to balance its budget and adequately fund fire protection,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said of the measure, which also drew strong opposition from rural residents.
June 17,2011 (San Diego) -- County Supervisors and public safety officials kicked off Defensible Space Days last week by urging residents to give their homes a fighting chance against wildfires by creating a 100-foot buffer zone. The map below shows areas most likely to have a major wildfire—including a significant section of East County.
“We lost thousands of homes in the 2003 and 2007 firestorms and learned that homes with defensible space are far more likely to survive than homes without it. As we head into the hot, dry conditions of summer and fall, it’s imperative that residents get rid of fire hazards on their properties,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
June 17, 2011 (Otay Mesa)-- Highway 94 was closed briefly late today while firefighters worked to contain a brush fire. The fire was held at 12 acres and all lanes are now open, Cal-Fire confirms.
June 15, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – A suspect shot by a U.S. Marshal at the Albertson’s at 790 Broadway in Lemon Grove has led deputies on a high-speed chase. Incident Page Network reports multiple shots were fired and the suspect has been shot in the arm. The Highway 94 on-ramp westbound ramp westbound from College Grove was shut down temporarily, however the suspect has now been taken into custody.
June 13, 2011 (Cuyamaca)-- Cal-Fire and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park will be conducting prescribed burns on Park lands opposite the Paso Picacho campground on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14 and 15.
VIEJAS FIREFIGHTERS TRAVEL FROM ALPINE, CALIFORNIA TO ALPINE, ARIZONA--HELPING TO BATTLE HUGE WILDFIRE
By Miriam Raftery
June 12, 2011 (Alpine, Arizona) -- Four firefighters from the Viejas Tribal Fire Department in Alpine, California, are now in Alpine, Arizona, where they are helping to battle the Wallow Fire. The second largest wildfire in Arizona’s history, the Wallow Fire has charred over 443,989 acres, injured seven people, destroyed 29 homes and threatened thousands more.
“The Viejas fire crew is driving a Brush Engine, designed for fighting wildfires in rugged, remote areas,” said Robert Scheid, Viejas public relations director. “It has 4-wheel drive, holds 280 gallons of water and carries 1,200 feet of hose.”The Viejas fire crew includes two firefighters, one engineer and one Captain. They arrived June 7 in eastern Arizona, joining over 4,311 firefighters and other personnel now fighting the Wallow Fire, which has spread into New Mexico.
Viejas Fire Chief Don Butz has provided ECM with photos of his dedicated crew on the fire lines.
June 12, 2011 (Spring Valley)-- The official groundbreaking of the Heartland Regional Fire and Public Safety Training Center was celebrated on June 8th. The goal of the new center is to develop a new phase of first responder training across the East County and beyond.
June 12, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Last week, as ECM reported, FEMA retracted its demand for Harris Fire survivor Veronica Lytle of Potrero to pay back disaster funds that FEMA had claimed were paid in error. Now FEMA informs ECM that 40 survivors of the 2007 California firestorms have been sent recoupment letters.
“FEMA received four appeals from applicants who were affected by disasters which occurred in San Diego County,” said a FEMA spokesperson who asked not to be named. “FEMA either rescinded or adjusted the amount identified for recoupment on three of the four appeals.”
June 11, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – A brush fire that started near 12th and H Streets in Ramona charred two acres, but was swiftly extinguished. In addition, a spot fire burned a 30 x 30 foot section off Wildcat Canyon Road at the 10-mile marker in Lakeside this morning, Cal-Fire reports.
June 9, 2011 (San Diego's East County) – One of the nation’s only DC-10 very large Airtankers has been deployed from California to assist in fighting the raging wildland fire in Arizona. The request was made yesterday by the U.S. Forest Service. The aircraft, Tanker 911, took off this morning from its base in Victorville.
By Miriam Raftery
June 7, 2011 (Potrero) – Following intense media scrutiny and letters from federal and local elected officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has retracted its demand that Veronica Lytle of Potrero pay back over $1,600 in disaster funds that she received for damage to her home in the 2007 Harris Fire.
"When I finally opened the letter I just couldn't believe it!" Lytle told East County Magazine (ECM).
But the fate of 36 other local disaster victims who have been asked to refund money to FEMA remains unclear.
Update June 6, 2011 6 a.m. -- The Bee Fire is now 90% contained at 100 acres, Cal-Fire says.
June 5, 2011 (Dulzura)—The Bee Fire, which started at Marron Valley Road and Bee Canyon south of Dulzura at 3:45 p.m. this afternoon, is now 100 to 130 acres. The wildfire is now 5% contained and forward spread has been stopped, according to the Cal-Fire incident page: http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current
Full containment is projected for midnight tonight.
June 5, 2011 (Dulzura) – A 50-75 acre wildfire is burning in the rural Bee Canyon area late this afternoon.
“It’s holding at a ridge line right now,” Cal-Fire spokesman Mike Mohler informed ECM at 5:30 p.m. “No homes have been damaged or destroyed and there are no evacuations.”
Marron Valley Road is closed at the gun range and Border Patrol is turning back traffic, a reader has informed ECM.
DEFENSIBLE SPACE DAYS: : FIRE OFFICIALS URGE RESIDENTS TO GIVE HOMES FIGHTING CHANCE AGAINST WILDFIRES
Following cuts in Cal-Fire staffing, fire agencies will be out in force next weekend to inspect properties and educate public
June 5, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- State budget cuts have slashed staffing on Cal-Fire engines from four men to three. The manpower cuts as fire season approaches come at a time when heavy winter rains mean more growth of brush, providing increased fuel for fires. The County asks residents to join in Defensible Space Days and remove fire hazards within 100 feet of your home before peak fire season. Fire agencies and safety groups will be out in the community June 10-12 to provide information about defensible space, including what is required by law and local code.
June 2, 2011 (Otay/East Chula Vista) – A fire that began in a recycling lot at 880 Energy Way in East Chula Vista near Otay has set 10 to 15 cars on fire and spread into surrounding brush.
According to Incident Page Network, the brush fire is now six acres. Or more. Access for firefighters is difficult; a helicopter and type-three strike team have been called in.
May 26, 2011 (Lakeside) – Cal-Fire, working in unified command with Lakeside Fire Protection District, has halted the spread of a 5-acre fire burning south of the San Vicente Reservoir near the Morena gate in Lakeside.
Ten engines, two fire crews, a helicopter, an air tanker, bulldozer and water tender have helped battle the blaze. Access was limited due to construction in the area, however the situation is under control and a request for a second air tanker has been cancelled.
May 26, 2011 (Ramona) – Cal-Fire reports that three small spot fires that started last night have grown to 15 acres but are now under control, with full containment expected tomorrow afternoon. The location is in the vicinity of San Vicente Road and Bunnie King Lane.
May 21, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – If you see smoke, don't panic! Heartland Fire is conducting controlled burns today in East County.
May 17, 2011 (San Diego's East County) --Now that tax season is over, it is a great time to ask yourself if you are financially prepared to deal with an emergency.
- Below are tips provided by Heartland Fire.
- Insurance coverage:
- Have you reviewed your policy lately? Does it accurately reflect the value of your home?
- Do you have a copy of your policy with contact information in your disaster kit?
- Do you have appropriate coverage (earthquake,flood, etc.)?
- Does it include additional living expenses if you home is uninhabitable?
- If you are a renter, do you have renter's insurance?
- Do you have photo/video inventory documentation of your personal belongings?