Mountains

PRESCRIBED FIRE BURNS PLANNED AT CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

Source:  CA Department of Parks and Recreation

December 5, 2019 (San Diego) - The California Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire protection (CAL FIRE) and other agencies are planning to conduct prescribed burns and pile burns in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park between Dec. 16, 2019 and April 30, 2020.

RAMONA HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL EACH WEEKEND BEFORE CHRISTMAS INCLUDES HOLIDAY SHOPPING, MUSIC, AND WINE TASTING

East County News Service

December 4, 2019 (Ramona) -- This year’s Ramona Holiday Wine Trail runs four weekends to make sure you have time to cover all 18 participating wine-tasting venues and take advantage of all that the Holiday Wine Trail has to offer. The event includes holiday shopping at wineries as well as live music, special events and promotions plus of course, wine tasting.  This year, the wine trail runs each Saturday and Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas:

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO SNOW

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office
Photo: Mount Laguna (Miriam Raftery)
 
December 3, 2019 (San Diego) - The following are tips and considerations for you if you plan to drive up to the snow:
  • Be prepared for significant traffic delays in both directions due to both road conditions and the sheer volume of motorists. Prior snowfalls have left drivers in up to five-hour waits on the roads.
  • You should have a full tank of gas. Don’t count on filling up along the way.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: THANKFUL AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS IN ALPINE

East County News Service
 
Photos courtesy of Kelly Massey at Lions, Tigers and Bears
 
December 1, 2019 (Alpine) – At the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine earlier this week, exotic big cats and bears enjoyed some special Thanksgiving enrichment.  In addition to savoring raw turkey dinners, the animals also enjoying romping and frolicking in the newfallen snow.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

AFTER RULING BY JUDGE, COUNTY REMOVES ALL EQUIPMENT FROM JULIAN FIRE STATION 56, INCLUDING FIRE ENGINES, AMBULANCE AND WATER TENDER

Safety concerns raised; court ruling by Judge Randa Trapp could be death knell to Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 20, 2019 (Julian) -- With a stroke of a gavel, San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp on Friday morning dashed hopes of volunteers from the former Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District that the district will be resurrected anytime soon.

Judge Trapp denied the motion filed by JCFPD’s attorney Cory Briggs last April 10, which sought to invalidate the dissolution of the volunteer fire and medical protection district by the San Diego Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO). Briggs filed the motion to appeal the afternoon after LAFCO’s vote.

Within hours of Trapp’s decision Friday, despite a new appeal of Friday's judgement filed by Briggs, the County Fire Authority operated by CALFIRE raided Julian Fire Station 56, towing away or hauling off all remaining firefighting equipment of the JCFPD including fire engines and ambulances. A broker has reportedly indicated that at least some of the equipment is being put up for sale, instead of being either held for the JCFPD in case of a win on appeal, or turned over to the CFA/CALFIRE to utilize to protect Julian.

Briggs called the action a “raid.”  Some Julian residents cried, while others voiced anger.

The action leaves Julian entirely dependent upon the CFA/CAL FIRE for protection, despite grave concerns raised by many residents over serious gaps in equipment and coverage since the JCFPD was dissolved.

SNOW FALLING ON I-8, HEAVY SNOW BLANKETS MOUNTAINS AS OTHER AREAS FLOOD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Robert Scheid:  Snow falls along I-8 near the Sunrise Highway exit

November 28, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – It’s a white Christmas across East County’s mountains and rural areas. Snow is falling along Interstate 8 east of Alpine.

A blanket of snow covers the Cuyamaca area, Cal Trans reports on Twitter.  In Warner Springs, chains or snow tires are required, with two inches of snow on Chihuahua Valley Road, NBC 7 reports. Snow is heavy in the Julian area, leaving some residents snowed in, sources told ECM.

WHITE THANKSGIVING FORECAST FOR MOUNTAINS, FLASH FLOOD WATCH ALSO ISSUED AS “DANGEROUS” WINTER STORM TO IMPACT HOLIDAY TRAVELERS

 

East County News Service

November 26, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A winter storm watch has been issued for the National Weather Service from Wednesday at 4 a.m. through Friday at 10 p.m. for all mountain areas in San Diego County. There is also a flash flood watch for areas west of the mountains from Wed. at 4 a.m. through Thursday at 10 p.m.

Heavy mountain snow will bring hazardous travel conditions Wednesday through Friday, with accumulating snow down to 3,000 feet by Thanksgiving night.  Up to three feet could accumulate above 5,000 feet including Mt. Laguna and Palomar, with several inches at lower elevations.

MAN SHOT IN DISPUTE, AIRLIFTED TO HOSPITAL FROM RAMONA

By Miriam Raftery

November 26, 2019 (Ramona) – An argument between two men, ages 24 and 26, escalated into a fight today in the 400 block of Pala Street in Ramona.  “One of the men produced a gun, firing one round and hitting the other person in the left leg,” says Lt. Ken Jones with the Sheriff’s department.

Sheriff’s deputies and Cal Fire paramedics arrived on scene. Paramedics stabilized the wounded party and transported him to a hospital by helicopter. The wounded man is expected to survive.

24TH ANNUAL ALPINE VILLAGE PARADE OF LIGHTS & SNOW FESTIVAL DEC. 6

East County News Service
 
November 25, 2019 (Alpine) – The 24th annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights and Snow Festival is slated to light up the holiday season and delight guests of all ages on Friday, December 6th. The parade rolls out at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of Alpine Blvd. and West Victoria Drive, ending at Tavern Road.  The free snow festival – with real snow and sledding – is at the Alpine Community Center at 1830 Alpine Blvd after the parade, until 9 p.m.
 
Arrive early, since Alpine Blvd. will close down for the parade. Bring a chair and blanket to enjoy the lighted entries. At the snow festival afterwards, in addition to “snow hill” you’ll find vendors, food, music and a visit from Santa Claus.

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: WHAT IS A MOUNTAIN CHILD?







By Jake Zawlacki

Photo Credit Fern Bowen, 1947

November 25, 2019 (Jamul) -- “Mountain child” is a term I first heard when looking at a class photo of my grandfather. In the small Lyons Valley elementary school of 1947, he stood amongst two of his sisters, he and the youngest with a particularly stern face.

“Look at them. They’re like wild mountain children,” my Dad said, smiling at the black and white photo. It was true; they looked more like children of the corn than civilization standing in the dirt, some with bare feet. But most looked happy.

STORMY THANKSGIVING COULD BRING SNOW BELOW 3,000 FEET, THUNDERSTORMS AND HEAVY RAINS ACROSS REST OF REGION

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re heading over the rivers and through the woods this Thanksgiving week, you might just wind up traveling through white and drifted snow, as the popular song lyrics go—not to mention rain and flash flooding, too, making for hazardous roadway conditions across southern California, the National Weather Service warns.

The National Weather Service predicts a major winter storm will bring significant snowfall of one to two feet above 5,000 feet by Wednesday, with the snow level dropping to 3,000 feet or even lower by Friday.  Snow could impact I-8 through San Diego County’s mountains, as well as areas such as Cuyamaca, Julian, Jacumba Hot Springs, Descanso, Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain locally, as well as the Cajon Pass on I-15 for those heading north.

VIEJAS HOSTS ROARING 20S NIGHT TO REMEMBER ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

By Miriam Raftery

 

November 22, 2019 (Alpine) – To ring in 2020, Viejas Casino & Resort is hosting a Roaring ‘20s themed New Year’s Eve bash that promises to be the resort’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration yet.

 

You’re invited to don your flapper dress or Gatsby get-up, then choose a package tailored to fit your fortune.  Festivities will span the ballrooms, pool bar, park, and beyond.

 

The invite adds, “See you there, revelers – it will be the bee’s knees!

For more information, visit https://viejas.com/new-years-eve-bash-2020/.

“GOT POWER” PROGRAM ON GENERATORS AND BACK-UP POWER OPTIONS SPARKS INTEREST IN ALPINE

By Chris Whipple
 
Photo:   Alpine residents Sally and Brian Shepherd speaking with Robyn Herrick and Israel Juarez of SDGE.
 
November 21, 2019 (Alpine) -- East County residents braved the rain Monday evening to attend a community presentation at the Alpine Library titled, "Got Power?"  Representatives from KAMPS Propane, SDG&E, and Clayco Electric Inc. Solar answered questions about the Public Safety Power Shutoff program in East County during Santa Ana, high-wind conditions.  Chris Whipple, a resident of Flinn Springs, also made a brief presentation about back-up power plans that allow her to use her medical CPAP equipment when the power is out.   

GOVERNOR PROPOSES BOND TO FUND BACKUP GENERATORS AND SOLAR PANELS TO KEEP SCHOOLS OPEN DURING POWER OUTAGE

East County News Service

November 21, 2019 (Sacramento) – Schools have been hard hit statewide by utility companies’ repeated power outages intended to prevent lines from sparking wildfires—including rural and mountain school districts in San Diego’s East County. Today, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed steps to remedy the problems, including calling for a $15 billion bond to fund back-up generators and solar panels to keep schools open during unforeseen power outages, as well as other steps.

 

Future proposals may include rethinking the traditional school calendar and building in makeup days to deal with not only natural disasters but unplanned power outages, according to a press release issued today by the Calif. Dept. of Education.

STORM DOUSES COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

November 20, 2019 (San Diego) – The first winter storm of the season has dumped snow on Mt. Laguna and Palomar Mountain, also bringing lightning strikes, heavy rainfall and flooding to some parts of San Diego County.

Sheriff Bill Gore tweeted a photo (left) with this message:  “Yes there is a bit of snow on Laguna but it is melting fast and the roads are dangerous. This is not the time for your winter outing.”

WINTER STORM TO BRING SHOWERS AND SNOW

By Miriam Raftery

November 18, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- The first winter storm will impact southern California Tuesday through Thursday, says Alex Tardy with the National Weather Service.

A cold upper level storm will interact with tropical moisture on Tuesday bringing precipitation. The cold air from this northern stream storm will arrive early Wednesday and allow snow to develop in the mountains.

CA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO POWER OUTAGES

By Miriam Raftery
 
November 14, 2019 (San Francisco) --  The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Wednesday opened an investigation to examine recent Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) events and ensure utilities are held accountable for their actions.  
 
The electric utilities under investigation are Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Liberty Utilities/CalPeco Electric, Bear Valley Electric Service, and Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp. In September and October 2019, the state’s investor-owned electric utilities, notably PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E, proactively de-energized power lines during high wildfire danger weather conditions to reduce the risk of utility infrastructure starting wildfires. 

DEAD HAWK IN RAMONA TESTS POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS

County Vector Control warns residents to protect against mosquitoes
 
East County News Service
 
November 13, 2019 (Ramona) – San Diego County environmental health officials announced today that a dead Cooper’s hawk found in Ramona has tested positive for West Nile Virus. It is the second case of West Nile Virus found in birds locally this year; in March another dead Cooper’s hawk found in Lakeside was also found to carry the virus.
 
No locally transmitted cases have been identified yet this year in humans, though two people did test positive for the virus after contracting it in other counties. Symptoms of West Nile can include headache, fever, nausea, skin rash or swollen glands. While most people recover, in about one of every 150 cases, the disease can cause serious illness including brain swelling or even death.

GOT POWER? BE PREPARED! FORUM ON GENERATORS NOV. 19 IN ALPINE

East County News Service
 
November 8, 2019 (Alpine) – The Alpine Library will host a forum on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. for you to learn more about generators, solar battery backup and other residential emergency power options.
 
Local businesses including SDG&E, Global Power, and Kamp’s Propane will be on hand to answer your questions.
 
The library is located at 1752 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine.

POMEGRANATE DAYS NOV. 29-DEC. 1 GOES CAMEL CRAZY

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2019 (Ramona) – What began as a fall treat for the camel herd at Oasis Camel Dairy has become the venue’s most beloved event 

This year, on Nov. 29, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, Pomegranate Days celebrates its 9th year with much more than the traditional camel feeding, camel show and camel rides.  Guests can also savor pomegranates for sale from the family farm’s orchard, a comedy magic performance by Godfrey the Magician with his Magic Castle, and just in time for Thanksgiving weekend, a Turkey Stampede by pardoned gobblers from the award-winning state fair traveling turkey race show. Click here for video.

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB LISTENS TO COMMUNITY CONCERNS IN JULIAN

Emergency fire and medical protection, SDG&E planned outages top list of concerns

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery, Editor, contributed to this report

View video of townhall: https://tinyurl.com/JacobsJulianTownHall

Photo, left, by Paul Kruze:  Supervisor Dianne Jacob and SDG&E Vice President Eugene "Mitch" Mitchell fielded audience questions.

November 7, 2019 (Julian) -- Supervisor Dianne Jacob ventured into a potential firestorm when she held a scheduled town hall forum at the Julian Town Hall on October 25th in downtown Julian. Jacob’s town hall coincided with the anniversary week for the infamous 2003 Cedar Fire and 2007 Witch Creek firestorms which devastated the eastern San Diego backcountry. Up to then, both were the two worst wildfires in California history.

But the irony didn’t stop there. Moments before the town hall was set to begin, word reached the venue that a brush fire erupted near Witch Creek between Ramona and Julian. This prompted County Fire Authority/Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham to bolt out of the town hall where he was slated to speak in order to respond to the fast-moving fire.

“We are all on edge,” acknowledged Jacob, who chairs the county’s Unified Fire Council and outlined major investments made by the county to improve fire safety. “But we are better prepared than ever before.”

That contention, however, was disputed by the president of the former Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFD)'s  board of directors, as multiple fire engines and an ambulance roared past the town hall en route to the Sawday Fire in Ramona.

RESIDENTS RALLY TO HELP CHIEF BAKER AND HIS WIFE WITH MEDICAL NEEDS

East Counrt News Service

November 7, 2019 (Julian) – Julian resident Jim Baker served as a firefighter for 41 years as well as Fire Chief in Del Mar.  But now he faces financial struggles after his wife, Janet, was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. According to family friend Beatriz Cauzza, who has started a GoFundMe page to help the couple, “Within the first 26 days of that diagnosis Mr. Baker spent $143,000 on medical bills that were not covered by their insurance.”

STATE SUPREME COURT REJECTS APPEAL BY DEVELOPER AND COUNTY; HOSKINGS RANCH TO REMAIN AS AGRICULTURAL PRESERVE

By Miriam Raftery
 
November 6, 2019 (Julian) – Land slated for development into luxury homes in the Julian area must remain as an agricultural preserve.  That’s the impact of the California Supreme Court’s denial of a petition for review filed by Genesee Properties, the developer of Hoskings Ranch and the County of San Diego.  
 
The appeal sought to overturn a July ruling in Cleveland National Forest Foundation et al. v. County of San Diego County (Genesee Properties) by the 4th District Court of Appeal, which found that the County acted wrongly in approving 24 luxury homes on the agriculturally-zoned site protected under the Williamson Act.
  

EIGHT SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO CLOSE THURSDAY DUE TO POWER OUTAGES

Source: County News Service

 

October 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- The San Diego County Office of Education reports that because San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has activated a public safety power shutoff in certain parts of the county, schools in the following school districts will be closed on Halloween this Thursday, October 31: 

 

  • Dehesa School District
  • Julian Union High School District
  • Julian Union School District
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District
  • Rancho Santa Fe School District
  • Spencer Valley School District
  • Vallecitos School District 
  • Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District

SCHOOL CLOSURES ON WEDNESDAY DUE TO OUTAGES

October 29, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- Because SDG&E has announced planned power outages due to high fire danger, the County Board of Education announced that the following school districts will be closed on Wednesday, October 30:

  • Dehesa School District
  • Julian Union High School District
  • Julian Union School District
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District
  • Rancho Santa Fe School District
  • Spencer Valley School District
  • Warner Unified School District

SMALL QUAKE NEAR LAKE HENSHAW RATTLES EAST COUNTY

East County News Service

October 29, 2019 (Lake Henshaw)-- A 3.6 earthquake centered near Lake Henshaw, 15 miles northwest of Ramona, rattled the region around 9:20 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  

The temblor was felt as far away as La Mesa, where ECM's editor felt a rumble followed by a jolt that startled her two dogs and a cat.  

SDG&E WARNS OF NEW OUTAGES AS SANTA ANA WINDS ARE SET TO RETURN

By Miriam Raftery

October 28 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – With the strongest Santa Ana winds of the season forecast Tuesday through Thursday,  San Diego Gas & Electric is warning over 32,000 customers that the utility may proactively shut off power to many communities to prevent lines from sparking fires, including some areas not previously impacted by outages.  The outages could begin late Tuesday or early Wednesday and last as late as Friday evening, according to SDG&E.

The communities that may lose power are:

  • Alpine
  • Boulevard
  • Campo
  • Descanso
  • Dulzura
  • El Cajon (portions of)
  • Encinitas (portions of)
  • Escondido (portions of)
  • Jacumba
  • Jamul (portions of)
  • Julian
  • Lakeside (portions of)
  • Mount Laguna
  • Pala
  • Palomar Mountain
  • Pauma Valley
  • Pine Valley
  • Potrero
  • Poway
  • Ramona
  • Ranchita
  • Rancho Santa Fe (portions of)
  • San Clemente (portions of)
  • San Juan Capistrano (portions of)
  • Santa Ysabel
  • Valley Center (portions of)
  • Warner Springs

Steps to prepare for an outage

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