September 13, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – As fire parcel fee notices arrive in the mail for rural homeowners in East County, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association has filed a lawsuit contending that the fee is an illegal tax that required a two-thirds majority of the Legislature for passage.
If the gorup prevails, a court may order refunds. The organization’s website, FireTaxProtest.org site has a Petition for Redetermination that it suggests property owners mail in with their payments: http://firetaxprotest.org/?page_id=13.
City, County Officials and Fire Agencies Join Utility to Announce Cooperative Firefighting Agreement
September11, 2012 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced it has renewed agreements with the County and City of San Diego and firefighting agencies to continue to make a heavy-lift air-crane available to support fire suppression efforts this fire season. An Erickson Air-Crane helitanker, the “Sun Bird,” was used by SDG&E during construction of the Sunrise Powerlink. Now that the transmission line construction is complete, the aircraft will be on standby and dispatched for firefighting assistance as needed.
September 4, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- CalFire has informed East County Magazine that there is a fire 4 miles south of Otay Mountain. There is no danger to the U.S., but smoke is visible from the U.S. side of the border.
In addition, a flash flood warning has been issued for the eastern portions of the county. See http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sgx/
Update: Cal-Fire is assisting the U.S. Forest Service with crews, engines, planes and helicopters. "Good progress" is being made, said Cal-Fire's Roxanne Provaznik. Planes and one of the helicopters have been dismissed.
September 3, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- A fully engulfed car fire has sparked a brush fire on I-8 at Buckman Springs that IPN reports is five acres and spreading rapidly.
An incident commander has indicated that if the blaze reaches the top of the ridge line, the wildfire has potential to reach 1,000 acres. Air tankers have been requested.
By Nadin Abbott
Photos by Tom Abbott
September 3, 2012. (Pine Valley)—Fire crews quickly put down the fire on Westbound Interstate 8, just west of the Buckman Springs onramp. At no time there were structures under any kind of a threat. There was one slight injury to a firefighter, due to heat, and he is expected to recover.
By Miriam Raftery
August 25, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—High temperatures and the worst drought since the Dust Bowl in the 1930s have combined to fuel severe wildfires across the U.S. in the first 8 months of the year, wildfires have scorched nearly 7 million acres—on pace to make 2012 one of the worst years on record.
State levies additional cost without providing additional services.
August 24, 2012 (Alpine)– The Alpine Fire Protection District (AFPD) Board of Directors at its August 21st board meeting adopted a resolution opposing the newly implemented State Responsibility Area (SRA) fees, which will impose additional financial burden on its constituents without providing additional fire services.
County Democrats gut fire protection resolution, while Republican supervisors also fail to protect County residents from wind turbine fires
By Miriam Raftery
August 24, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--The San Diego Democratic Central Committee this week passed a measure calling on County Supervisors to increase firefighting resources-- but removed a key provision that would have urged lawmakers to ban wind turbines in fire-prone East County.
Wind turbines have been responsible for starting hundreds of fires around the world, including wildfires, but firefighters cannot fight a fire burning in a 500-foot-tall wind turbine whirling off burning debris. With Supervisors poised to approve a wind ordinance opening the door to numerous turbines in the backcountry, the vote was a major disappointment to residents concerned about the clear threat to public safety posed by wind turbines in our fire-prone region.
August 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Seven lightning-sparked fires that burned more than 22,000 acres are all fully contained, Cal Fire reports this morning. No structures were lost, though four firefighters were injured. Below are full details on the fires provided by Cal Fire.
“Long overdue”l tactic to contain California’s dangerous wildfires, Senator Feinstein says
August 19, 2012 (Washington D.C.)— The U.S. Forest Service will update its nighttime firefighting program to battle out-of-control wildfires in Southern California.
Previously, the Forest Service restricted aerial firefighting operations to daylight hours only. The announcement was made August 15 by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Buck McKeon (R-Calif.)
Higher humidity and cooler temperatures are aiding firefighters, Cal Fire reports. The Vallecito Lightning Complex is now 22,828 acres and 90% contained. The suppression costs are up to $6,400,000 and firefighters still have a mile of containment line to construct. There have been a total of 4 injuries to firefighters.
As of this evening, all roads in the fire area have been opened and all evacuation orders have been lifted.
Update August 17, 2012: All evacuation orders have been lifted. The Lightning Complex Fires are now 85% contained at 22, 836 acres. Flash floods and rainfall are forecast, with mud slides possible in recently burned areas.
By Miriam Raftery
August 16, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Amid blistering heat and wildfires blazing across our region, here’s news that may inspire a chill down your spine.
A recent issue of Al Qaeda’s publication, Inspire, has surfaced on jihad forums inspiring Western terrorists to start forest fires in the U.S.
Update August 16, 2012 8 a.m. - The fires are now 60% contained; acreage remains at 15,525. Moderate fire growth will continue today and a return to monsoonal flow will begin this morning, says Roxanne Provaznik with Cal Fire. Direct fireline tactics remain difficult due to terrain. Three firefighters have been injured; cost to suppress the fire is up to $3,870,000. Evacuations and road closures remain in effect.
Update Augusut 15, 2012 9 p.m. -- Fires have scorned 15,525 acre and are 35% contained. The two largest blazes are the Wilson Fire (8,000 acres and 50% contained) and the Stewart Fire (7,000 acres and 40% contained).
Story and photos by Nadin Abbott
August 15, 2012 (Ranchita)-- The mood was tense as firefighters made a stand on Old Wilson Road and Montezuma Road this afternoon. Hand crews were about to do what Public Information Officer for Cal- Fire Tom Piranio called "burning the fuel back to the main fire."
By Chief Ken Mimlott, Director of CAL FIRE
August 16, 2012 (Sacramento)0Due to the menace of wildfires and their potential to destroy life, property, and natural resources, as well as predicted fire weather and other factors, and utilizing the authority vested in me by Section 4423.1 of the Public Resources Code, I hereby proclaim:
1. All RESIDENTIAL “DOORYARD” (FORM LE-62 a and b) BURNING PERMITS within State Responsibility Area and Local Responsibility Areas under contract to CAL FIRE in the counties listed above will be SUSPENDED beginning 08:00 hours August 15, 2012. Previously issued “Dooryard” permits will no longer be valid.
FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: AFTER THE FIRE CONSIDERATIONS--REPLACING VALUABLE DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS
By Sam DiGiovanna, East County Magazine’s in-house Fire Chief
August 16, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Below is a checklist of documents that are commonly lost in a fire. Under the type of document is the institution or agency to contact for a replacement. Do not forget to take any medications.
If you are asked to evacuate, please do so immediately… Don’t become part of the existing problem!
August 15, 2012 (Riverside)--The Buck Fire in Riverside County, meanwhile, has scorched 3,000 acres and is still only 5% contained. Two civilians and three firefighters suffered injuries in the Buck Fire, including one major injury to a civilian.
Dozens of homes have been evacuated and hundreds of firefighters are battling the blaze in the Aguanga area about 15 miles from the San Diego County Line.
Aug. 15, 2012 (Miramar Naval Air Station) – Today, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) has been requested by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to assist with the wildfires burning in eastern San Diego County."
FIRES TO MERGE OVERNIGHT: EVACUATIONS IN RANCHITA AND SAN FELIPE AREAS AMID "EXTREME" FIRE CONDITIONS
By Miriam Raftery
Update 11:15 p.m. -- Scanner traffic indicates fire jumped Grapevine Canyon. S-2 is closed. A new evacuation site for large animals for Ranchita residents is established at Creek Hollow Ranch in Ramona, 25279 Creek Hollow Drive, per the County emergency website. (Love Ranch, named in an earlier post, is NOT being used for large animal evacuations.)
By Miriam Raftery
August 14, 2012 (San Diego's East County) 9 p.m. -- Multiple fires in the Vallecito Lightning Complex have scorched 5,925 acres, with only 10% contained, Cal Fire's Roxanne Provaznik reports. Firefighters have 22.7 miles of containment line to construct.
August 14, 2012 (Escondido) – The fire season has started and it’s important to be prepared. Waterwise Botanicals, 32183 Old Highway 395, Escondido is offering a free seminar on August 25 on “Fire Safe Landscaping with Succulents”. The seminar will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will be held outdoors.
August 14, 2012 (Temecula) – The Buck Fire (25 miles southeast of Murrieta and 30 miles northeast of Fallbrook and 18 miles east Temecula) has charred 1800 acres in the Sage area near Aguanga. One home is in flames and another ten have been evacuated, the Riverside Press Enterprise reports. The blaze, which is several miles from the San Diego County , is putting up smoke visible from North County.
For more details, including evacuation centers for people and large animals, see:
Update 5:30 p.m. - Evacuations are now mandatory due to spread of the Wilson Fire toward Ranchita. Reverse 911 calls have been made to 228 homes. An evacuation center has been set up by the Red Cross at Warner Springs High School, 30951 Highway 79. A large animal evacuation station has been established at Love Acre Ranch, 35490 Highway 79, Warner springs.
August 14, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The Vallecito Lightning Complex southeast of Julian near Vallecito has charred 2,352 acres and is now 30% contained. Cost to suppress this fire is $805,000. Two fires are also continuing to burn near Scissors Crossing northeast of Julian. The Wilson Fire has burned 1,400 acres and is 5% contained. The Stewart Fire is 0% contained and has burned 600 acres so far, Cal Fire reports.
All fires are now burning in the vicinity of Anza Borrego Desert State Park. No structures are threatened and cause remains under investigation, however lightning is the likely origin as there were multiple lightning strikes in the vicinity.
Update 5:30 p.m. --There are multiple fires in the Vallecito Lightning Complex, the largest of these fires per Cal Fire are:
Vallecito Fire: 350 acres 0% contained South East of Julian, cause lightning
Wilson Fire: 600 acres 0% contained near Scissors crossing North East of Julian, cause lightning
Stewart Fire: 50 acres 0% contained near Scissors crossing North East of Julian, cause lightning
A reader advises that Pinyon Ridge is on fire between Shelter Valley and Ranchita (photo above, shot from Shelter Valley, shows Sentanec Cienega where Higwhay 78 enters Sentanec Canyon.
August 13, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The Chihuahua Fire is 100% contained, after burning 2,007 acres according to Cal Fire’s final update.
Multiple new brush fires are burning in East County. Largest of these is the Vallecito Lightning Complex fire, which has charred 220 degrees and remains 0% contained. No structures are threatened.
Clarifcation Clarification on Harrison Park report: IPN stands by its report last night which read in full: SAN| Julian| Major Brush| | Mason Vly Truck Trail|Large brush fire now split into 2 fingers, great potential. Harrison Park in danger. Need air drops.
By Tom and Nadin Abbott
Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report
August 10, 2012 (Chihuahua Valley) 3:30 a.m. – Hundreds of firefighters from across California have been called in to defend 60 homes in Chihuahua Valley, a box canyon northeast of Warner Springs. View a map.
The area contains stands of old-growth oak trees estimated at 400 years old, according to residents.
Residents, shut out of the area, fear for livestock trapped inside without access to water--and some people may be trapped, a property owner at the scene told ECM.
Energia Sierra Juarez Substation and Cross-Border Transmission Lines Also Approved in East County
By Miriam Raftery
“This will impede firefighting efforts to a frightening degree…a wind-drive fire is not going to stay in the backcountry. We must not roll the dice…There are other, safer alternatives….I also have serious problems about an energy policy that depends on the stability of Mexico.” –Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who voted against both projects
“I’m opposed to green energy…I don’t think the Department of Energy should be putting subsidies in this….but the state has mandated renewable and we have to comply.” – Supevisor Bill Horn, who voted for both projects
August 9, 2012 (San Diego) – The irony was enormous. San Diego’s Board of Supervisors yesterday spent much of the morning debating whether cell phone towers five feet taller than current ones would mar community character on Mount Helix. In the afternoon, three of the five Supervisors then threw county height limits to the winds—voting to approve 500-foot-tall industrial wind turbines in scenic McCain Valley over the objections of numerous backcountry residents.
By a 4-0 vote, Supervisors also approved a power substation and cross-border transmission lines designed to bring power up from the massive Energia Sierra Juarez wind project proposed in Mexico.