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.
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.
August 9, 2012 (Warner Springs)--Reverse 911/AlertSanDiego contacted residents in Chihuahua Valley at 10 p.m. to tell them sheriff's deputies would be conducting mandatory evacuations due to the Chihuahua Fire. Residents need to be prepared to evacuate when called upon by deputies to do so.
Residents will be able to evacuate to Warner Springs High School at 30951 State Route 79. Large animals will be able to evacuate to Love Acre Ranch at 35490 State Route 79.
All residents are asked to remain aware of their surroundings and to stay tuned to local radio and television stations for updates. If you require emergency assistance with evacuating or have another emergency call 911. For all other information call 211.
Update 9:05 p.m. - 6 airtankers and 6 helicopters have been ordered for first light in the morning.
Update 8:40 p.m. : The Chihuahua Fire is now 900 acres and 0% contained. There are 31 engines, 12 fire crews, 4 water tenders, and 3 bulldozers and approximately 230 firefighters. More resources have been ordered, says Cal Fire's Roxanne Provaznik.
August 9, 2012 (Warner Springs) – The Chihuahua Fire near Warner Springs has swelled to 275 acres and may soon merge with another blaze, the West Branch Fire, near Santa Ysabel, ECM has learned.
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.