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REGIONAL OFFICIALS UNVEIL FIRE FIGHTING INNOVATION: INCREASE SMOKE CAMERAS, ADD TECHNOLOGY TO SEE THROUGH SMOKE

County, Cal Fire, City, SDG&E and UCSD Share Technologies to Enhance Fire Safety

September 24, 2012 (San Diego)_ – Innovative emergency response equipment and technology were showcased on Wednesday, September 18 when San Diego regional leaders gathered at Montgomery Field airport to promote cooperative disaster response efforts among government, university and private sector agencies.

20 HOMES FEARED LOST IN TIERRA DEL SOL AREA

By Miriam Raftery

September 24, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Cal Fire reports this morning that an estimated 20 homes have been destroyed and another 10 damaged, along with approximately 15 outbuildings.  The fire is now 2,000 acres and 10% contained.

Homes lost are all in the Tierra del Sol area, Mike Mohler of Cal Fire told ECM.  “We’re going to go out right now to compile a list of the addresses,” he said when asked for details on locations of residences that burned.

“Tierra del Sol and Jewel Valley remain evacuated and are still threatened,” Roxanne Provaznik of Cal Fire said in a release issued at 6:50 am.  Highway 94 is closed between the Shockey Truck Trail east to Jewel Valley.

SHOCKEY FIRE: REPORT FROM THE FIRE LINES

By Nadin Abbott

September 23, 2012 (Campo)-- On arrival at the Golden Acorn Casino, a plume of smoke rose in the distance.The wildfire, named Shockey Fire by CAL-Fire, was making swift progress east towards Jacumba. Some residents forced to evacuate were looking on, concern etched on their faces, as the thick billows rose into the sky.

HUNDREDS OF FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE BLAZE AS DARKNESS FALLS

Update 12:10 a.m. September 24 -- Due to the wildfires, all schools in the Mountain Empire Unified School District will be closed on Monday Sept. 24.

Update 11:45 p.m. – The Shockey Fire has swelled to 2,000 acres and is 10% contained, Cal-Fire Battalion Chief Mike Mohler advises.  Evacuation advisory for Jacumba; structure threat and evacuations continue for Boulevard and Tierra del Sol communities. Numerous structures are damaged or destroyed; Southwest power grid is also threatened. 

SHOCKEY FIRE TOPS 1,000 ACRES: FOUR HOMES BURNED

September 23, 2012 (San Diego's East County)Update 5:10 p.m. - The Shockey Fire has topped 1,000 acres, IPN reports. Numerous outbuildings have burned, Cal Fire confirms. Scanner traffic now indicates that at least four homes have burned in the Tierra del Sol area.

SDG&E reports that the Shockey Fire has left 183 customers without power in Live Oak Springs, Boulevard and Jacumba. Powerlines have burned and some lines are down.

Jewel Valley is under mandatory evacuation orders following earlier evacuations of 77 homes in Tierra del Sol. 

The Evacuation Center has been changed to Mountain Empire High School, 3305 Buckman Springs Road.     If you need help evacuating large animals, call 619-767-2675 or 619-236-2341.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF FIRE IN BOULEVARD

By Miriam Raftery

September 23, 2012 (Boulevard) – Boulevard Planning Group Chair Donna Tisdale has provided ECM with a dramatic eyewitness account of the Shockey Fire, which started on the Campo Reservation just west of her home in Boulevard.  Power and phone lines have burned down, she reports, adding that the area has no cell phone reception. 

“A Deputy showed up to warn us and recommended evacuation.We stayed and the fire raged through parts of our Morning Star Ranch and our son's property next door. Together we have over 300 acres--much now looks other worldly, stark and smoldering,” wrote Tisdale, who sent photos taken from her property.

CAMPO FIRE NOW 100 ACRES, SPREADING EAST

FOR UPDATES ON THIS FAST-GROWING FIRE, SEE OUR NEW STORY POSTED HERE:

http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/11145

ALSO CHECK OUR HOMEPAGE FOR POTENTIAL NEW STORIES LATER AT www.EASTCountyMagazine.org.

 

Update 1:40 p.m.:  The Shockey Fire is now over 100 acres and spreading rapidly to the east, being driven by a southwest wind, Cal Fire’s Roxanne Provaznik reports.  The Incident Commander has requested 5 additional engines, 4 additional airtankers, 2 additional water tenders, and 1 additional bulldozer.  There are structures out ahead of the fire but they are not immediately threatened, per  Cal Fire.

JULIAN FIRE HALTED AT 20 ACRES

By Nadin Abbott

September 21, 2012 (Julian) -- Firefighters from across the region converged on Farmer’s Road, a narrow country lane on the north side of Julian to fight a brush fire that has been contained at 20 acres.

Camp Stevens, as well as the residents of Farmer Road were evacuated as a precaution, however no structures burned.

BRUSH FIRE IN JULIAN

September 21, 2012 (Julian) -- Cal-Fire is at the scene of a 15-acre brush fire in Julian at Wynola Road and Farmers, caused by a motorcycle-down accident.  An ECM reporter is en route to the fire.

Evacuation of 25 homes will be done as a precaution, though no structures have burned, Mike Mohler with Cal Fire told ECM.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HIGH FIRE DANGER!

By Fire Chief Dan DiGiovanna

It’s not just the health concerns and power outages associated with hot days…we are stepping right into our first high pressure system of the season and if you ask any fire service authority, all will agree this will be an extremely dangerous fire season according to Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

PENDLETON BLAZE NOW MAJOR BRUSH FIRE OVER 1,100 ACRES

September 15, 2012 (Oceanside) -- A major brush fire at Camp Pendleton has now charred 1,100 acres and is 50% contained. No structures are threatened, IPN reported at 7:04 p.m. 

Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna, ECM’s “From the Chief’s Corner” columnist, advised earlier that the fire has bee moving north at a rapid rate towards Cleveland National Forest. Smoke is highly visible from both San Diego and Orange Counties.

CREWS BATTLE BRUSH FIRE IN ENCANTO AREA

September 15, 2012 (Encanto) -- Brush fire with structures threatened in the Klauber Avenue San Diego/Encanto area. Helicopter ordered for water drops.

CREWS BATTLE BRUSH FIRES AT CAMP PENDLETON

By Sam DiGiovanna, East County's in-house Fire Chief

September 14, 2012 (Oceanside)--Camp Pendleton fire crews are battling several brush fires that ignited on base this afternoon, leaving smoke and flames from the blaze visible in San Diego and Orange County.

Four brush fires began in a training area in the central portion of the base around noon, Pendleton officials said. Crews are expected to continue battling the blazes overnight.  A fifth vegetation fire, located in the southern portion of the base, was reported shortly after 5 p.m.

GOVERNOR SIGNS SENATOR KEHOE'S WILDFIRE PREVENTION PLANNING BILL

September 13, 2012 (Sacramento) – Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) announced today that her legislation to protect development from wildfire has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

“SB 1241 will save lives and property.  It will also ease the financial burden for fire suppression on both state and local governments through early, consistent, and meaningful fire hazard planning statewide,” stated Senator Kehoe. “We have fires in California every year.  As more people move into State Responsibility Areas and high fire hazard severity zones, it’s become critical that local governments plan for fire hazards in these high risk areas as early in their land use planning process as possible,” Kehoe said.

REPEAL OF FIRE FEES FIZZLES

AB 1500 Fails; SB 1040 can’t move forward

By Janis Mork

September 11, 2012(San Diego)- Language in Senate Bill 1040 which sought to repeal the state fire parcel fees will not take effect, since its enactment was tied to a companion measure, Assembly Bill 1500, that failed passage.

JARVIS TAX GROUP FILES SUIT OVER FIRE PARCEL FEES

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.

SDG&E RENEWS AIR-CRANE SUPPORT FOR REGIONAL FIREFIGHTERS

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.

MULES TO THE RESCUE AS CALIFORNIA BATTLES FIREFIGHTING BUDGET CUTS

By Miriam Raftery
September 1, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – They’re sure-footed and low tech. They can reach rugged terrain that firefighting equipment and helicopters often can’t—and they’re a lot less expensive.
That’s why in this era of shrinking budgets to battle a growing number of wildfires, California is turning to an old-fashioned means of packing firefighting supplies into remote areas:  mules.

CALFIRE INFORMS ECM REGARDING MEXICO FIRE ALSO FLASH FLOOD ALERT ISSUED

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/

BRUSH FIRE AT BUCKMAN SPRINGS

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.

FIRECREWS KNOCK DOWN FIRE AT BUCKMAN SPRINGS NEAR MOUNT LAGUNA

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.

WORST DROUGHT SINCE DUST BOWL FUELING SEVERE WILDFIRES ACROSS U.S.

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. 

ALPINE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT BOARD OPPOSES NEW FEE IMPOSED ON CONSTITUENTS

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.

EDITORIAL: RESIDENTS COUNTYWIDE SHOULD URGE SUPERVISORS TO BAN WIND TURBINES IN FIRE-PRONE REGIONS

 

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.

VALLECITO LIGHTNING FIRES NOW 100% CONTAINED

 

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.

FOREST SERVICE WILL BEGIN NIGHT TIME AERIAL FIREFIGHTING

“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.)

VALLECITO LIGHTNING FIRES NOW 90% CONTAINED

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.

FLASH FLOODS, MUD SLIDES FORECAST IN BURNED AREAS; EVACUATION ORDERS LIFTED IN FIRE ZONE

 

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.

WILDFIRE JIHAD: AL QAEDA URGES TERRORISTS TO START WILDFIRES, CALIFORNIA AMONG POSSIBLE TARGETS

 

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. 

FIREFIGHTERS MAKE A STAND AT RANCHITA AS SOME RESIDENTS DEFY EVACUATION ORDERS

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."

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