East County News Service
Photo: Once brimming with water, the eastern portion of Lake Morena is bone dry.
April 9, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The drought is shrinking ponds and lakes across East County—and Cal-Fire is concerned about the loss of water for fighting fires.
Cal Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser told 10 News, “We’re extremely concerned.” He said Cal Fire has been mapping the backcountry seeking alternative water sources. Plans are also being made to carry water tanks aboard helicopters.
Barrett Lake has shrunk from 96 percent of capacity in 2006 to less than 6 percent. Lake Sutherland is at 8.5 percent capacity and Lake Morena, a reservoir drained intentionally by the city of San Diego for drinking water, is below 3 percent of its capacity.
While many rural residents do have water tanks and hoses to help firefighters on the ground battling blazes, helicopters rely on natural water sources and reservoirs to scoop up water for fighting wildfires.
With tinder-dry brush across the backcountry in this fourth season of historic drought, lack of water only exacerbates an already serious situation.