By Miriam Raftery
September 27, 2012 (El Cajon ) – It was the hottest party in town last night at the El Cajon Brewing Company, where a “Beer Bash Benefit” was held to raise funds for East County Magazine’s wildfire reporting and to encourage the public to sign up for ECM's free Viejas Wildfire & Emergency Alerts.
The event raised nearly $3,500, including a generous $2,500 donation from the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians. Charlie Brown, director of Community Relations for Viejas, and Chief Don Butz of Viejas Fire were on hand to make the presentation.
The following details were provided in a press release from the district, which has been plagued by budget shortfalls, contentious public meetings, and labor-management disputes in recent years.
September 27, 2012 (Spring Valley) -- The San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors voted onSeptember 25 to approve a Cooperative Service Agreement with CAL FIRE. The Board voted unanimously to approve the five and a half-year agreement. Board President Chris Winter said, “This Cooperative Agreement allows the District to proceed with a balanced budget, maintain the current level of service for our residents and provide for the long-term viability of the District.
September 27, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—The Shockey Fire is now 100% contained, after destroying 11 homes, 14 outbuildings, and 11 vehicles. The blaze also claimed the life of an elderly resident and injured three firefighters.
By Nadin Abbott
Photos by Tom and Nadin Abbott
September 26, 2012 (Boulevard)—Around five in the afternoon, as the sun was starting to set, the first residents of Boulevard’s Tierra del Sol neighborhood began to come home. There was anxiety in some faces, as well as relief on others, as they learned what state their properties were in –and whether their homes had survived the devastating 2,850 acre Shockey Fire that destroyed 11 homes and claimed the life of an elderly man.
September 29, 2012 (Alpine) – The Alpine Fire Protection District is looking for community volunteers who want to be trained as CERT members. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. CERT members learn how to protect themselves, their family and their community in the event of a major disaster.
September 26, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The Shockey Fire is now 95% contained. The fire, which claimed the life of an elderly resident in the Tierra del Sol area of Boulevard, a community founded a century ago for railroad workers.
After conducting an assessment in the area, Cal Fire has confirmed 11 homes burned and 14 outbuildings, with two additional structures damaged. That’s an improvement over earlier Cal Fire estimates, which had indicated 20 homes and 15 outbuildings were believed lost. In addition, 11 vehicles have been destroyed and two firefighters were injured.
Survivor Resource Center at Jacumba Library Will Be Open through Saturday
A Local Assistance Center (LAC) for residents who suffered losses in the Shockey Fire will be open starting Wednesday at the Jacumba Library, 44605 Old Highway 80, 91934.
The Assistance Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 26, 27, 28 and 29. It is open to anyone who lost a home, suffered property damage or is otherwise impacted by the Shockey Fire. The site will assist residents with information, basic needs, and referrals to programs and services.
Red Cross will also join partners at County's Local Assistance Center Wednesday
September 25, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--In response to the Shockey Fire, American Red Cross disaster workers are continuing shelter operations at Mountain Empire High School located at 3305 Buckman Springs Road, Pine Valley, 91962.
The Red Cross will also be joining the County’s Local Assistance Center (LAC) for residents who suffered losses in the fire. The LAC will open beginning Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the Jacumba Library located at 44605 Old Highway 80, 91934. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 26, 27, 28 and 29.
September 25, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—The Shockey Fire has scored 2,850 acres and is now 55% contained, Cal Fire reports. There has been one injury to a firefighter as well as the death of an elderly resident reported yesterday. Twenty homes have burned, all in the Tierra del Sol area of Boulevard, as well as 15 outbuidlings. Another 10 structures were damaged by the fast-burning wildfire. About 25 residences remained threatened this morning.
Damage assessment is now being conducted by authorities. The objective today is to continue to build containment lines on the northern and southern flanks. At 6 p.m. today, the evacuation order for Tierra del Sol will be lifted and residents only will be allowed to return, with ID.
Fire has scorched 2,450 acres and is now 40% contained, 25 homes still threatened in Tierra del Sol area. View map of fire
By Miriam Raftery
September 24, 2012 (Boulevard) –A charred body has been found at the burned residence of an 82-year-old disabled man, who did not leave despite reverse 911 calls made in the area advising residents of mandatory evacuation orders. Neighbors told ECM news partner 10 News that deputies and firefighters were searching for Carson Robinson, who was missing after the Shockey Fire roared through his neighborhood on Tierra del Sol Road in Boulevard.
“It’s extremely prudent upon homeowners to definitely heed the warning and exit the premises as quickly as you can,” Cal Fire Captain Richard Cordova told ECM, indicating that this tragedy may have been preventable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
FOR UPDATES ON THIS FAST-GROWING FIRE, SEE OUR NEW STORY POSTED HERE:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
September 15, 2012 (Encanto) -- Brush fire with structures threatened in the Klauber Avenue San Diego/Encanto area. Helicopter ordered for water drops.
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.
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.
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.
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.