Senator also sends CPUC letter voicing concern over delays in voting on a staff proposal to deny SDG&E’s request to charge ratepayers for 2007 fire losses
East County News Service
November 23, 2017 (Sacramento) – State Senator Jerry Hill, joined by Senators Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener and Assemblymembers Marc Levine and Jim Wood, have announced that they will introduce legislation in January to prevent electric utilities found culpable in wildfires from passing the costs for claims not covered by insurance as well as fines or penalties onto customers.
October 20, 2017 (San Diego) -- As firefighters struggle to get deadly wildfires under control in Northern California, San Diego County and City officials marked the 10th anniversary of the 2007 Wildfires and called upon residents to do their part to prepare for another emergency.
October 12, 2017 (San Diego) -- Wildfires seem to be burning daily in almost every county. You may not live directly in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) however you will likely be impacted by the large amount of smoke generated by these fires.
Particulate matter generated from the smoke is the main public health threat during short-term exposure to wildfire smoke, so it’s crucial to protect yourself.
Wine industry organizations throughout California form support network to assist vintners in three counties; leaders call for national support
Photo: Twitter user RSLRutledge
October 11, 2017 (Santa Rosa) -- Wine industry leaders have formed a support network to provide immediate assistance and long-term aid to victims of the fires ravaging Northern California and are calling on the national wine community for additional help. Organized by a group of association leaders representing the Golden State’s major winegrowing regions, support efforts include fundraising and creation of an online resource where vintners can find and offer resources, such as generators, trailers, lodging and manpower.
October 10, 2017 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to restrict drones from flying near or over fires and locations that have public safety temporary area restrictions to ensure public safety.
October 2, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Forest Service, in a series of messages sent on its Twitter account, warns that the growing cost of wildfires is taking money from other programs –including those that reduce fire threats.
Photo left: Los Angeles Air Ops via L.A. Fire Department; Jason Moore on Twitter
September 3, 2017 (San Diego) – The Border Fire near Dulzura is 100% contained. But across California, many far more major brush fires are blazing. Several local firefighting agencies have dispatched crews to aid in conflagrations across the state.
September 3, 2017 (San Diego) -- Have you ever wondered how firefighters determine which homes to defend and which ones we don’t during a wildfire?
As firefighters, we lay out our plans for the tactical operations before a brush fire by pre-planning our districts. During a brush fire, it’s imperative that we make quick but well-thought-out decisions that reflect life safety issues for both responders and citizens first, followed by property conservation.
August 22, 2017 (California) – Growth in commercial-scale marijuana farming has created a new set of wildfire-related issues. Several recent wildfires in California were caused by pot growing operations, Cal Fire reveals. But in other western states, pot farmers are facing uninsured losses when wildfires threaten their crops.
Photo courtesy San Bernadino County Fire Department
July 10, 2017 (San Diego) – It’s shaping up to be an extreme fire season. Over 6,100 firefighters are battling at least 14 large wildfires burning across California, CAL FIRE public information officer Issac Sanchez reports on behalf of CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Chief Tony Mecham. The U.S. Forest Service is also battling numerous fires on federal forest and national park lands, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Photo: A CAL FIRE air tanker drops retardant on a fire in San Diego County. Image credit: Jeff Pack
July 10, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - Hobbyist drones are a growing safety concern among local first responders fighting fires in the air and on the ground.
As we approach peak fire season, San Diego County Fire and CAL FIRE San Diego Unit officials are reminding hobby drone operators to steer clear of wildfires. Drones put first responders’ safety at risk, and they stop or slow firefighting operations.
By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office
Photo: The San Diego region is more prepared for wildfires this year than it has ever been and residents need to do their part to lessen their risk and be ready to evacuate if it is recommended.
May 23, 2017 (San Diego) - This past weekend’s Gate Fire should have ended any lingering thoughts that the year’s ample rains dampened San Diego’s wildfire threat and the need to maintain defensible space around your home.
April 20, 2017 (Descanso) – Do you have a plan for reducing your wildfire risks and protecting your family and pets? The Descanso Emergency Planning/FireSafe Group is holding a workshop on Saturday May 6 from 1-3 p.m. at the Descanso Library (9545 River Drive in Descanso) to help families prepare for wildfires.
Photo: Clayton Fire in Lake County, courtesy of Cal Fire
East County News Service
August 15, 2016 (San Diego) – Cal Fire reports that over 8,800 firefighters are battling eight large wildfires in California. None are in San Diego County, though hot dry conditions pose a significant risk. Below is an update provided by Cal Fire on the fires burning statewide:
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.
Photo: Hikers at trailhead to Three Sisters Falls (file photo)
June 20, 2016 (Julian) – Yesterday, a small vegetation fire off Boulder Creek Road a half mile from Three Sisters Falls near Julian was swiftly doused. Palomar Hot Shots, helicopters, U.S. Forest Service and a Cal Fire air tanker attacked the blaze when it had charred only a quarter of an acre at mid-morning yesterday.
June 8, 2016 (San Diego) -- Brush fires chewed through hillsides from San Diego to Ventura Counties and every county in between, challenging firefighters and making hillside homeowners very nervous this past weekend as a very hot and long brush fire season is now underway.
April 14, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- If you thought the El Niño rains this season lowered the region’s wildfire risk, you’re going to be disappointed. Unfortunately, they may have done the opposite: increased the fire hazards.
October 4, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Don’t let recent rains fool you. This year's wildfire season isn't necessarily a new one, but rather a continuation of last year's, thanks to the drought. The National Weather Service is forecasting our first significant Santa Ana wind event of the season this week. Prepare now before conditions get worse!
March 24, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Our state’s drought really is a state of emergency, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. The state is now around 40 million, and growing. What happens when America’s most populous state runs low on its most precious resource for the fourth year in a row?
October 5, 2014 (Alpine)--The Bureau of Indian Affairs (B.I.A) has moved two of its firefighting helicopters from northern California to the Viejas Indian Reservation in San Diego County to position them for quick response as the wildfire threat increases across Southern California.
The continued drought conditions, extreme heat and Santa Ana winds forecast over the weekend have made San Diego County, and Southern California, ripe for wildfires and have prompted multiple agencies to be on high alert.
August 5, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--When it comes to climate change, the facts are in, according to a new video titled "It Only Takes Three Minutes to See Why We Must Act on Climate Change." The release comes as much of the west, including northern California, is once again being ravaged by firestorms.
Watch as President Obama's Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren explains--in less than three minutes--how climate change is making America's wildfires more dangerous and why the President's top science advisor believes we must act now.
May 22, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Nearly all the animals rescued by the County Department of Animal Services during the recent wildfires are back home with their owners. Animal Services rescued more than 50 animals when fires broke out across our region last week. In all six cats, four goats, 18 dogs, 21 horses, an emu and a bird were taken in to the department’s care. Only three cats remain. Animal Control officers also helped a couple dozen owners evacuate their horses to locations other than the shelters. Officers evacuated between 40 and 50 head of cattle from just one ranch alone.
May 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The East County Chamber of Commerce is warning members to beware of con artists preying on businesses.
“The Chamber is very concerned about the impacts of our recent disaster and we want to remind you that our staff and business community are available to assistance and support your business through hardships like these," said Eric Lund. He also warned business owners about a rash off “mandatory fire inspector con artists” going around to businesses who are not with any fire department.
January 14, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--Are babies and children at risk of suppressed immune systems from wildfire smoke?
A new study at the University of Califiornia, Davis, suggests this could be the case.
The study was conducted by the University and by the California Air Resources Board. It looked at 25 young Rhesus Macaque monkeys born at the university’s Primate Research Center during summer of 2008, when smoke from over 2,000 fires that burned over a million acres drifted into the area. The monkeys born during the wildfires, and who were living outdoors, were found to have suppressed immune systems. Their blood samples were placed in tissue culture dishes, then exposed to disease pathogens—and showed reduced ability to generate immune responses to diseases than blood from 25 other monkeys born a year later.
November 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – On September 24, the County Board of Supervisors threw their support behind a Southern California drone testing zone. This rash decision puts San Diego County at risk for $2.7 billion in liability for the property alone if a Drone goes down and starts a fire in the back country. The County Board of Supervisors need to rethink this position quickly, before the FAA opens our skies to drones for testing purposes, and put us all at risk.
June 26, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--Effective June 28, 2013 at 6:00 a.m., fire restrictions on the Cleveland National Forest will be moved to the “Elevated” level. The increase in fire restrictions is due to dryer fuel conditions, higher temperatures, and the likelihood of small fires becoming larger fires.
The purpose of fire restrictions is to reduce the risk of human-caused fires during high fire danger. Fire restrictions impose limitations on forest users and are implemented only as deemed necessary to help prevent wildfires.
Cases have significance for ratepayers if jurors find SDG&E liable for punitive damages
By Nadin Abbott; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report
June 21, 2013 (San Diego)—Six years after the Witch Creek/Guejito fires, which the California Public Utilities Commission found were caused by SDG&E’s lines, over 2,000 victims have reached settlements with SDG&E. But 16 victims have not settled or received any compensation from the utility for their losses. Now a judge has ruled that some cases may proceed to trial.
At a court hearing on June 19, Judge Richard E. L. Strauss ruled that victims will finally have their day in court—in some cases, with a tort liability, all-issues trial. That could force SDG&E to pay punitive damages if a jury finds the utility was negligent and knew of fire hazards that it failed to correct.
Judge Strauss has set a date for the all-issues trial to finally settle the remaining cases of the Witch Creek/ Rice and Guejito Fires of 2007. These were among the most destructive fires in San Diego history.
Residents Urged to Clear Defensible Space, Plan for Family Readiness
May 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – California has already seen 1,569 wildfires this year, about 500 more fires compared to the same period last year and 85 percent more fires than in an average year. With the long, hot and dangerous summer a real possibility, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and public safety officials today urged residents to protect their homes against wildfires by creating a 100-foot buffer zone.
“Now is the time to prepare for what is shaping up as a tougher-than-usual fire season,” said Supervisor Jacob. “The firestorms of 2003 and 2007 taught us that homes with defensible space are far more likely to survive than homes without it.”