Update 6 p.m. - The Chihuahua Fire is now in the Warner Springs area, threatening to jump firelines, Cal Fire reports. The blaze is 125 acres.
August 9, 2012 – A major brush fire at Highway 79 and Chihuahua Valley Road in the Poway area is now more than 100 acres. The likely cause was a lightning strike, Cal Fire reports. Traffic control is in effect with access limited to residents only.
A second fire just south of the Chihuahua Fire is now 25 acres in size, spreading rapidly. Additional strike teams and crews have been dispatched to the scene.
In addition, a brush fire at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside is burning in a heavy stand of trees, with smoke affecting traffic on I-5.
Update: 3:40: Cal Fire has cancelled resources not yet at the scene; fires have totalled less than half an acre, per latest estimate. Two lanes of I-8 east have been reopened, CHP reports.
Update 3:25 p.m.: Multiple small fires are burning on both sides of Alpine Blvd., Cal Fire's Roxanne Provaznik reports. The fire is spreading slowly and there are no immediate threats to structures.
By Miriam Raftery
August 1, 2012 (Sacramento)—The Fire Districts Association of California has sent a letter to its members advising that the State is preparing to notify property owners within State Responsbility Areas (SRA) of the new $150 annual fee for fire prevention services under Assembly Bill 29—even if people are within an existing fire district.
“The local fire districts are placed in the unenviable position of shouldering the day to day expenses of providing services, while onerous fees are imposed on their constituents without any direct benefit to the jurisdictions,” states the FDAC, which opposed the bill and warns that the measure could imperial public safety.
Report provided by Sam Giovanna, East County Magazine’s in-house fire chief
August 1, 2012 (San Diego) – A brush fire burning in Murrieta near the San Diego County border at La Cresta/Camp Pendleton has charred 400 acres. As of 9 p.m., the blaze in 50% contained. Smoke drift is visible in northern San Diego County.
Cause of the fire was motorized equipment used to clear brush, Cal Fire investigators have found.
By Miriam Raftery
July 31, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – With County Supervisors poised to consider approval of Tule Wind and a wind ordinance that could open much of fire-prone East County to wind energy development, a wildland fire that started at a wind turbine facility in Riverside County last month provides fuel for opponents concerned about fire risks posed by industrial-scale wind projects.
“The fire started with the windmill itself,” Captain Greg Ewing with Cal Fire/Riverside Fire Department informed ECM today.
Despite extensive area cleared around the base of each turbine, Ewing said, the blaze still spread into a wildland fire that swiftly engulfed 367 acres. If not for prompt reporting by a witness, it could have been far worse.
SIX BRUSH FIRES CAUSED BY SHOOTING FIREARMS IN EAST COUNTY; CAL FIRE ASKS BLM TO BAN SHOOTING DURING FIRE SEASON
By Miriam Raftery
July 22, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Revelations that six wildfires in the past six weeks have been caused by recreational shooting in East County has caused a firestorm of controversy.
Cal-Fire, joined by residents of Dulzura, Potrero and other areas bordering the Otay Wilderness area have asked the federal Bureau of Land Management to ban shooting on its properties within San Diego County for the duration of this year’s expected severe fire season.
Story and photos by Nadin Abbott
July 25, 2012 (Jamul)-- A brush fire that began at or near 128480 Proctor Valley Road in Jamul shortly after 4 p.m. was knocked down by a massive, multiple agency response that included over 100 firefighters from at least a half dozen fire departments.
The road at Proctor Valley Road and Echo Valley Road was hard- blocked, preventing access to the scene this evening. It is a narrow road, and heavy fire equipment needed the room to maneuver. Authorities indicated it was also shut down on the Chula Vista side.
Update 5:20 p.m.: The fire's forward spread has been stopped at 20 acres, Cal Fire's Roxanne Provaznik reports. No structures were burned. Proctor Valley Road remains closed between Chula Vista and Jamul. Echo Way is also closed but should be opened soon.
Update, 6:20 p.m.: Smoke south of I-8 is from fire on the Mexican side of the border, per CalFire. A Border Patrol agent told ECM the fire was about two miles south of the international border.
July 22, 2012 -- According to CalFire, the forward spread of the Dehesa brush fire at 4700 Dehesa Boulevard has been stopped. The fire is holding at 15 acres. Smoke may still be seen from Crest, and surrounding areas.
July 20, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A 1,500 fire burning in Mexico is putting up a lot of smoke visible across East County, but poses no current threat to the U.S., Cal-Fire spokesman Mike Mohler told ECM.
The fire is currently burning southwest of Otay Mountain. It did cross briefly into the U.S. late today, burning approximately one acre in a creek bed. “We have one engine out there keeping an eye on it,” Mohler added.
Update 8:45 p.m. -- This border fire is burning in the Tecate creek in Mexico. Cal Fire crews on the U.S. side estimate it at 500 acres.
July 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A 30-acre fire is burning in Mexico, just south of Marron Valley Road and Otay Truck Trail. A Cal-Fire official informed ECM that the agency has crews monitoring the situation.
An ECM reader advises that air tankers have arrived to battle the blaze.
A brush fire that began near High Street at Buena Vista Avenue in La Mesa tonight briefly threatened homes and sent smoke billowing up that was visible on SR-94. The fire was quickly doused by Heartland Fire, however High Street is closed for mop-up.
Update: As of late last night, the fire was 300 acres and 60% contained. Training exercises are believed to have caused the blaze, ECM has learned. No structures are threatened.
July 16, 2012 (Camp Pendleton) – A brush fire on Camp Pendleton is generating smoke visible from across North County. As of 8 p.m., the fire has grown to over 130 acres, Gunnery Sgt. Paul McQuigg told the North County Times.
Update: This fire was stopped at two acres; cause remains under investigation per Cal-Fire, the Deerhorn Valley Antler reports.
July 16, 2012 (Jamul) – A brush fire is burning behind Pio Pico Campground in the Jamul area, Incident Page Network reports. According to IPN, the fire began at 14615 Otay Lakes Road. Cal Fire reports there is no threat to structures. Air support is at the scene.
By Paul Kruze
July 13, 2012 (Spring Valley)--By a unanimous vote by the board of the San Miguel Fire District (SMFD) and a badge pinned on his chest, then sealed with a kiss by his wife, former Division Chief Gary D. Croucher was installed as the District’s newest fire chief on Wednesday evening at the board meeting.
View a video clip of the appointment: http://vimeo.com/45691689
Photos and Video by Billy Ortiz
July 12, 2012 (Lakeside) – A brush fire briefly threatened homes at I-8 and Los Coches Road near in Lakeside early this afternoon. Thanks to a full wildland fire response, the blaze was extinguished in about 20 minutes.
"As I traveled up Los Coches Road, I spotted flames and smoke near a housing track. I called 911 and they dispatched fire crews. Within 5 minutes fire engine crews were on the scene," said ECM photographer Billy Ortiz, who shot this dramatic video as firefighters battled the blaze and concerned residents looked on.
By Sam Giovanna
East County Magazine’s in-house fire chief
July 12, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) --Following proven safety guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death from lightning strikes.
Lightning safety tips
The following tips are provided by the American Meteorological Society and the National Lighting Safety Institution.
July 11, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a severe weather warning for San Diego’s inland areas that includes multiple perils. An excessive heat warning continues, with temperatures up to 118 degrees forecast for desert areas.
In addition, thunderstorms are possibly Thursday afternoon through Friday morning, producing lightning, gusty winds, hail and light to moderate rainfall. A flash flood watch has also been issued, as well as a fire weather watch.
Update: This fire has been stopped at two acres.
July 12, 2012 (Dulzura)—Cal Fire and San Diego County Fire authority are on the scene of a two-acre grass fire south of Highway 94 near the Border Patrol checkpoint in Dulzura (TB Map 1313 E2). The fire is spreading moderately upslope in a south easterly direction.
READER’S EDITORIAL: TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE: SDG&E FAILS TO PROVIDE MITIGATION FUNDS FOR FIRE SEASON—AFTER ENERGIZING POWERLINK AND RAISING FIRE DANGER
By Catherine Gorka, Lakeside
July 10, 2012 (Lakeside)--Many residents of the East County /back county have received a letter from the Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation Grants Program telling us about the grant program.
The funds for this program should have been given out prior to the line being energized. Instead, funds if approved will not be given out till work is done, and grant money will not even be approved until the end of August -- well into high fire danger season.
Update 7:50 p.m. - A resident at the scene reports the fire is now under control and nearly extinguished.
Update 5:39 p.m. - Incident Page Network reports the fire is now 15 acres, spreading fast and moving toward structures.
July 9, 2012 (Lake Morena) – A three acre fire is burning off Bass Road in Lake Morena, Cal Fire Captain Mike Mohler has informed ECM. “It sounds like crews can hold it,” said Mohler, who called while on the road.
Two additional air tankers and one additional helicopter have been ordered to assist in dousing the blaze, he said. “There are structures in the area but as of now, they are not threatened.”