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Update Feb. 22, 2019 10:26 a.m.  This morning the Julian Times posted a photo on its Facebook page showing Cal Fire/CFA engines purportedly stuck in snow. Scroll down for the image. 

In addition, Times of San Diego forwarded this aerial video provided by a Julian resident showing Cal Fire engines in heavy snow at the station this morning:


By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Rachel Goddard,, JCFPD volunteers clear a tree blocking a snowy road.

February 22, 2019 (Julian) -- With up to two feet of snow blanketing the mountains of East County last night, a post circulating on social media and sent to ECM last night contained a screenshot that appeared to be a screen shot from a County Fire Authority social media page. The post stated that  its Cal Fire Station 51 in Julian and a fire engine "is unable to respond to calls and is out of service due to the growing snow conditions." (See screenshot below.)

But this morning, Cal Fire Deputy Chief Nick Schuler told ECM that the image and its message was "false" and not an official Cal Fire page. He said Cal Fire engines were in operation responding to calls at the time. Schuler blamed advocates of a contentious ballot initiative to keep the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District independent for circulating what he states was a hoax. ECM has requested call logs for the evening from both agencies.

Volunteer firefighters with the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District sent ECM a photo last night demonstrating a can-do spirit as they continued to serve their community during the emergency conditions, responding to calls for medical assistance and removing a downed tree. (Photo, left, courtey of the JCFPD.)

JCFPD Chief Mike Van Bibber told ECM today that he is confident the post did not originate with his firefighters. He added that one of his team owns a backhoe that was used to keep the JCFPD station clear for engines' access.

After we received Schuler's statement, this morning the Julian Times posted this photo on their Facebook page which appears to show two CFA engines temporarily blocked in by snow:

The contention between the two agencies during blizzard conditions will no doubt add fuel to the fire as JCFPD voters prepare to vote by mail in a March election to determine whether the county's last all-volunteer fire department will be dissolved and its duties transferred to the County Fire Authority/Cal Fire, or remain independent.

Van Bibber notes that during emergencies, "Why wouldn't you want both teams up here working?"

A yes vote would approve dissolving the district and would replace volunteers with Cal Fire professional firefighters, while a no vote opposes the takeover and would retain the district  and keep trained volunteers who live on the mountain to respond emergencies in their community, with Cal Fire as backup.



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Julian Engines stuck

Seems lots of misinformation surrounds this post. Clearly the video is of Cuyamaca Sta 51, not Julian Sta 50. One engine in the video looks like the Cuyamaca Type 3 Cal Fire engine, the other is 3388 from Witch Creek? The CHP log speaks for itself.

Denial in the Face of Truth

"Disgusting" is a perfect description of how Cal Fire's union reps and their administrators have behaved in our town toward residents and our community volunteer firefighters. Our community needs both fire service agencies, JCFPD and Cal Fire to survive. There is also the issue of responsibility for the safety of our tourists, which JCFPD give their all to protect, just as they do for residents. This snowstorm demonstrates why we need them both. It wasn't our information but a state or county listing of conditions during the snowstorm that were only shared, not created. For us this was no joke. It was frightening. The implications for us and our tourists were not lost on us. This was no hoax. We love Cal Fire boots on the ground and we love our community firefighters at JCFPD. We can do without their admins and union reps who wouldn't know the truth if it bit them in the .....left foot.

Work together !!

As a resident of the Julian area I cannot express my disgust enough. There is no reason to dissolve JCFPD and the county turning against one of their own and allowing this thug behavior is unbelievable and corrupt. It is this simple: 1. The county failed the back country by only contracting for one ambulance for 800 sq miles. 2. The county is trying to force the community to correct their failing by making them give up their fire protection district in "trade" for an unlikely and unworthy promise of a medic being put on a fire engine. 3. The county has broken it's promises to nearly all communities that it took over, leaving communities under protected. The county REFUSES to work together with JCFPD. They want to take over the fire protection district, take all of the money and sell off or confiscate all assets. No escape clause. Already they have commandeered and/or mistreated the Volunteers and put a CalFire cheif inside the department in an exceptional display of conflict of interest. The list goes on...and this lie is horrifying and shows why CalFire won the golden fleece award. Watching these thugs mistreat citizens has disolved all trust I had in them. History will tell an ugly story.

Alternate Facts

Even when you show proof, Cal Fire denies. They live in an alternate world, but not one that can work effectively on Julian's Mountain. The County/Cal Fire engine is 2wd, street tires, long wheel base. No way it can make it around the community. So, Cal Fire might use a brush engine, but it cannot accommodate a paramedic. So...what is the point? VOTE "NO" on MEASURE A.