Mountains

WELCOME, MOUNTAIN DWELLERS!

Our Mountain Living section covers the mountain communities in San Diego's East County north of I-8 including Aguanga, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Guatay, Julian, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley, Ranchita, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Shelter Valley and Warner Springs.


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HAUNTED HAYRIDES AND SPOOKY NIGHTS AT FORT CROSS OLD TIMEY ADVENTURES

East County News Service
 
September 25, 2020 (Santa Ysabel) – Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures in Santa Ysabel, just outside of Julian, invites you to share some “seasonal spooky fun, if you dare” on special events Oct. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24 and 29. Haunted hayrides can be reserved at 8 or 8:30 p.m. each evening.

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JULIAN AUTUMN JUBILEE: WEEKENDS NOW THROUGH OCTOBER

By Miriam Raftery 
 
Image by Rebekka D. from Pixabay 
 
September 25, 2020 (Santa Ysabel) – Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures in Santa Ysabel invites you to join in some socially distanced fun at the Julian Autumn Jubilee. The festivities will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday from late September through October 25. 

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RAMONA WINERIES WIN BIG IN SUNSET INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 24, 2020 (Ramona) – Judges in the prestigious Sunset International Wine Competition in Santa Rosa received over 2,7000 entries from around world. Ramona Ranch and Hatfield Creek Winery in San Diego’s Ramona wine region took home five silver medals: 


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ALL EVACUATION ORDERS, WARNINGS AND ROAD CLOSURES LIFTED FOR VALLEY FIRE

 

Update September 14, 2020:  Containment is now at 87%.

Update September 13, 2020:  Containment is now at 79%.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Walter Schlunegger

September 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – all evacuation orders, evacuations and road closures have been lifted in the Valley Fire, allowing residents to go home.

The last remaining temporary evacuation point at Steele Canyon High School is also closed.

The Valley Fire is now 55% contained, holding at 17,665 acres as ground crews continue working to suppress fire growth. Lighter wins and higher humidity are expected to limit fire growth overnight.

Residents in need of diaster assistance can visit www.SDCountyRecovery.com or cal 858-715-2200.


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FEEDING SAN DIEGO RESPONDS TO VALLEY FIRE BY DOUBLING AMOUNT OF DRY GOODS AVAILABLE AT EAST COUNTY MOBILE PANTRIES

Source:  Feeding San Diego

September 11, 2020 (San Diego) - To assist those facing hardship and disruption to daily life caused by the massive Valley Fire, Feeding San Diego, whose mission is to connect every person facing hunger with nutritious meals by maximizing food rescue, will increase the amount of food available at its East County mobile pantries located in Alpine, Campo, Descanso, Jacumba and Potrero.  


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COUNTY OPENS LOCAL ASSISTANCE CENTER FOR VALLEY FIRE

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Photo: Rancho San Diego County Library (courtesy: County News Center)
 
September 11, 2020 (Rancho San Diego) - County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and officials announced the County is opening a Local Assistance Center to help residents affected by the  Valley Fire, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at the County Library’s Rancho San Diego branch at 11555 Via Rancho San Diego in El Cajon.
 
The Local Assistance Center is designed to make it as easy as possible for residents to start the recovery process by giving them one place to receive help and information from numerous agencies. The center is initially scheduled to operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday.
 
The Local Assistance Center will comply with public health orders for the coronavirus, including physical distancing and facial coverings.

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VALLEY FIRE 39% CONTAINED, BUT STILL A THREAT

By Miriam Raftery

September 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Firefighters have increased containment on the Valley Fire to 39%. But Cal Fire’s latest bulletin cautions, “ Dry fuels and a dry airmass could potentially result in fire growth on portions of the fire.”

A temporary evacuation center at Steele Canyon High School, 12440 Campo Rd. in Spring Valley, remains open but other evacuation centers have closed.

“Ground crews continue to construct and strengthen hand and dozer lines and are focused on mopping up hot spots and providing defense to structures that remain threatened,” Cal Fire reports. “Firefighters are working to mitigate fire growth with the support of aerial assets. For each day the fire stays within its  current perimeter; the threat to the adjacent communities continues to diminish.”

 A high pressure system will slowly build over Southern California through the weekend and will be accompanied by gradually warming temperatures, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

The fire has destroyed 30 homes and 31 other structures, also damaging 11 additional buildings.


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VALLEY FIRE IS 32% CONTAINED, LOSSES CLIMB TO 30 HOMES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ryan Grothe

September 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – “Due to the fire retardant that was laid down on Tuesday, and the strong air support yesterday, resources were successful in keeping the fire from getting established and pushing into more populated areas to the west,” according to a release this morning from Cal Fire.

Firefighters held the Valley Fire to 17,665 acres It is now 32% contained, with 884 personnel assigned to battle the blaze. However the number of homes burn has risen to 30, with 29 other structures destroyed.

Today, crews are constructing and strengthening hand and dozer lines and are focused on structure preparation and defense to values at risk. A very dry air mass will be over the area for the forseeable future with a gradual warming trend through the weekend, according to Cal Fire.


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SOME EVACUATED RESIDENTS ALLOWED TO RETURN HOME; 26 HOMES BURNED, CONTAINMENT NOW 27 PERCENT

New fire burning in Mexico, a half mile south of the border

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Barry Jantz: Valley Fire earlier this week, viewed from Jamul

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The Valley Fire is now 27% contained as firefighters held it to 17,665 acres today after a night of Santa Ana winds.  Some evacuation orders have been reduced to evacuation warnings tonight, enabling residents evacuated from the Valley Fire to return home with proof of residence in these areas:

  • Corte Madera Ranch
  • Barrett Dam
  • All areas accessible from Lawson Valley Rd. to the east, with the exception of Forest Park Rd.
  • North side of Japatul Rd. between Sycuan Truck Trail and Hidden Glen Rd.

All other evacuation orders remain in effect.  See the evacuation map for the evacuation order and evacuation warning locations.

Cleveland National Forest remains under an Emergency Forest Closure Order to protect natural resources and safety of the public and firefighters.

An evacuation warning is issued when there is a plausible threat of fire activity to increase and your home may be in the affected area. Returning residents should be aware that there may be traffic interruptions due to fire crews and utility workers.

“We lucked out with the winds, which arrived later than expected and went away earlier than expected,  Captain Thomas Shoots, public information officer with Cal Fire, told ECM. Firefighters quickly doused a new fire in Boulevard’s Jewel Valley, which burned an acre or two.  An additional fire is burning about a half mile south of the border in Mexico, which Cal Fire is monitoring, he said.


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VALLEY FIRE FORCES SCHOOL CLOSURES, CHANGES IN LEARNING OPTIONS AND MEAL DISTRIBUTIONS

Source: San Diego County Office of Education

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego County Office of Education has published these updates on school closures in rural districts or changes in operations due to the  #ValleyFire .


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COUNTY LAUNCHES RECOVERY HOTLINE AND EMAIL FOR VALLEY FIRE: FIREFIGHTERS HOLD BLAZE AS HIGH WINDS ROAR IN THIS MORNING

Humane Society seeks donated items to help evacuated animals; school closures continue in fire-affected areas

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Latest evacuation map as of this morning, per Cal Fire

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The County of San Diego has established a Recovery Hotline and email to help all those affected by the Valley Fire, which  firefighters held to 17,565 acres overnight. See map left and an additional Google map updated frequently at https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7156104,-116.6375083,11z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m3!15m2!1m1!1s%2Fg%2F11l4m1gzbr?hl=en.

The fire is now 11% contained; however 20 homes and dozens of outbuildings have been lost. Santa Ana winds roared into the region in the middle of the night, with speeds of 54 degrees recorded at Sill Hill near Descanso, 53 in Alpine, 48 in Hauser Mountain and 45 in Potrero. A high wind warning and red flag warning are both in effect.

Recovery info for fire survivors

The Recovery Hotline, (858) 715-2200, will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and through the upcoming weekend.

The Recovery email, ValleyFireRecovery@sdcounty.ca.gov, will also be answered between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays and through the upcoming weekend.

After this weekend, messages and emails received after hours will be responded to on the next following business day, Mondays through Fridays. Additional wildfire recovery information and guidance will come as the fire is contained.


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FIRE DAMAGES ELECTRIC SYSTEM: SOME RESIDENTS COULD BE WITHOUT POWER FOR A WEEK OR MORE

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The Valley Fire has damaged the electric system across numerous rural communities that may be without power for days. Some communities left sweltering without power since Sept. 5 may not have power restored until Sept. 15 in order to repair fire damage. An additional circuit sustained weather damage to equipment.

The prolonged outage includes some circuits in Alpine, Barrett Lake, Buckman Springs, Campo, Dehesa, Dulzura, Jamul, Lyons Valley, Morena Village,  Potrero, and Rancho Palo Verde. With the 17,000 acre wildfire still burning and Santa Ana winds forecast tonight, the outages imperil residents ability to receive emergency notifications, open electric garage doors to evacuate, or pump water to drink or fight spot fires, unless they own generators.

SDG&E has alerted customers and posted estimated dates of power restoration on its outage webpage at https://www.sdge.com/residential/customer-service/outage-center/outage-map. The communities and circuits impacted are listed below. You can find your circuit on your SDG&E bill.


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POTENTIAL FOR “DANGEROUS SITUATION” TONIGHT AS HIGH WINDS FORECAST TO FAN VALLEY FIRE WESTWARD

 

Update 8:37 p.m.: The fire is now 11% contained and has burned 17,565 acres.  20 habitable structures have been destroyed and 9 more homes damaged; 25 outbuildings have also been lost.

EVACUATION ORDERS:

Lawson Valley • Japatul Valley • Corte Madera Ranch • Lyons Valley • Carveacre • WiseCarver

EVACUATION WARNINGS:

Pine Valley • Descanso • Alpine • Viejas • Dulzura • Barrett Junction • Potrero

ROAD CLOSURES:

Japatul Rd. & Lyons Valley Rd./Japatul Rd. • Japatul Rd @ Tavern Rd/Dehesa Rd • Lyons Valley Rd & Honey Springs Rd •

Wisecarver Lane @ Wisecarver Truck Trail • Skyline Truck Trail & Lawson Valley • Japatul Rd at Via Asoleado (also at Sequan Truck Trail) • Corral Canyon at Buckman Springs (Buckman Springs is open) • High Glen Rd • Hidden Glen Rd

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Henri Migala and Miriam Raftery

El Capitan High School in Lakeside opened as new shelter for evacuees

Photo, left by Henri Migala: Cal Fire/County Fire Chief Tony Mecham briefs Supervisor Dianne Jacob and supervisorial candidate Steve Vaus after press conference today at Viejas

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – At a press conference today held at the Viejas events center in Alpine, fire chiefs and county officials warned the public that Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 50 miles an hour are forecast to hit starting at 8 p.m. tonight – with the strongest winds in the middle of the night. Though firefighters have been working tirelessly battling blames and bulldozing containment lines, prioritizing the fire’s western flank, leaders warn that the winds will fan the fire westward towards Jamul and San Diego.

“The potential is out there for a very dangerous situation,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob (photo, left), who added that she hopes and prays we don’t see another major firestorm like the destructive Laguna fire in 1970, Cedar Fire in 2003 or the 2007 firestorms.


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VALLEY FIRE THREATENS CORTE MADERA, PINE VALLEY AS FIRE BURNS EASTWARD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ryan Grothe: 757 air tanker drops fire retardant on Valley Fire

September 7, 2020  (San Diego’s East County) – On the third night of the Valley Fire, the wind-driven fire continues to spread rapidly, burning eastward towards communication towers at Mt. Pinos Mountain and the community of Corte Madera.  View real-time mapping


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SAN DIEGO FOUNDATION ACTIVATES REGIONAL DISASTER FUND TO SUPPORT VALLEY WILDFIRE RESPONSE AND RECOVERY; DONATIONS SOUGHT

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 7, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Foundation today activated the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund to collect and manage charitable funds for response and recovery from the Valley Wildfire currently impacting the Japatul Valley, Carveacre, Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley and Deerhorn Valley in San Diego’s East County. Donations can be made online at SDFoundation.org/DisasterFund.


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MILITARY JOINS BATTLE AGAINST VALLEY FIRE: NEW EVACUATION ORDERS ISSUED

Santa Ana winds forecast tomorrow as firefighters race to contain firestorm

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Fire encroaching on Rock Canyon winery yesterday

Update 6:25 p.m. Cal Fire reports the fire has grown significantly, charring17,345 acres but is now 3% contained.

Update 3:45 p.m.  New mandatory evacuations have been given for Corte Madera south of Pine Valley.

September 7, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Dawn brought relief for many East County residents who evacuated or sheltered in place during the night, while firefighters limited the Valley Fire’s spread. View live-mapping of the fire perimeter at this link.

But today also brings new evacuations at Corral Canyon and Bobcat Meadows in Cleveland National Forest due to an immediate threat.  As a precaution, all camgrpounds in the federal forest will be closed for one week.

Ken, a homeless man camped at the Boulder Creek Canyon who has lived for years at campgrounds in the federal forest, emailed ECM that he was given just two hours to get out this Labor Day holiday.  "I told the person I had been drinking and WOULD NOT drive drunk nor leave my home," he said.  "I said I will go when I am sober or they can arrest me before then...Apparently there is NO evacuation area to the EAST. I have to go out in the sun or go to Steele Canyon."

“Fire growth is impacting the Lawson Valley and Carveacres areas. There is an immediate threat to Loveland Reservoir and the surrounding water shed,” Cleveland National Forest reports today.  As of this morning, the blaze has consumed 10,258 acres, 408 more than yesterday.

Though the fire remains just 1% contained, there is some good news.

“Because of the proactive efforts of Cal Fire, today we will be exercising the agreement we have with the Navy Third Fleet and the First Marine Expeditionary Force to utilize military aircraft on the fire,” Cal Fire Captain and Public Information Officer Kendal Bortisser reports.

The bad news is that the National Weather Service predicts Santa Ana winds will sweep into our region tomorrow through Thursday, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, along with continuing hot, dry conditions though slightly cooler than the record-shattering temperatures this weekend that hit 114 degrees in some of the fire-affected areas.


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VALLEY FIRE THREATENS SUNRISE POWERLINK AND WATER SUPPLIES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Lakeside Fire:  Firefighters battle Valley Fire for a second sleepless night amid record-breaking heat.

September 6, 2020, 9:30 p.m. (San Diego’s East County) – As firefighters battle the Valley Fire for a second sleepless night, the blaze has burned 9,850 acres, more than doubling since early this morning. It remains only  1% contained, with evacuation that now range south to the border, north past I-8 and Pine Valley, east to Campo, and as far west as portions of Jamul.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for San Diego County.  Tonight, the fire is in the area of Lawson Valley and Carveacre, threatening Sunrise Powerlink, the major electricity supplier for most of our region, and Loveland Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to 191,000 residents, Cleveland National Forest reports.

An evacuation order is in place for Barrett Lake Dam. Evacuation warnings have been issued for Lake Morena, Dulzura, Dog Patch, Potrero, Campo, Honey Springs, Barrett Junction, Deerhorn Valley, Corte Madera, Pine Valley, and the area from Lyon Valley/Japatul Road to Interstate 8.

With power out in some areas, residents may be unable to receive evacuation calls.  Some residents have asked that if you receive an evacuation call or flee due to encroaching flames during the night, please honk your horn as you leave to alert as many neighbors as possible.


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HOMES LOST OVERNIGHT AS VALLEY FIRE SWELLS TO 4,000 ACRES

 

Update 6:23 p.m. 9/7:  The fire is now 17,345 acres and 3% contained.

Update 9:20 p.m.:  The fire is now 9,850 acres and 1% contained, 11 structures destroyed. Please see updated evacuation map from County of San Diego at sdcountyemergency.com and never hesitate to evacuate if you do not feel safe.

Update 6:55 p.m.   Valley Fire Road Closures are in effect, per CHP tonight:

  • Japatul Road at Lyons Valley Rd/Japatual Valley Road
  • Japatul Road at Tavern Road/Dehesa Road
  • Lyons Valley Road at Honey Springs Road
  • Wisecarver Lane at Wisecarver Truck Trail
  • Skyline Truck Trail and Lawson Valley

Update 4:22 p.m.  The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has issued an evacuation warning for the areas of SR94/Marron Valley Rd and Lyons Valley Rd areas out to Morena Reservoir. Please see the Emergency Map for updated areas that are impacted.

Update 3:35 p.m.  New evacuation advisories include Potrero, Tecate, Barrett Junction and Dulzura. View map here: https://www.sdcountyemergency.com/content/oesemergency/en-us/maps.html.

Per Cal Fire just now:  The fire is now 5,350 acres and is 1% contained, burning at a critical/dangerous rate of spread. Structures are being threatened in Carveacre, Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley, Deer Horn Valley and Sycuan Indian Reservation. sdcountyemergency.com

Per Pulsepoint:  #ValleyFire is making a run for Barrett Lake, Lake Morena, and Hauser Canyon.

New road closures:  Lawson Valley Rd closed at Skyline TT and Rudnick Dr.   Japatul Rd closed from Dehesa to Lyons Valley Rd   Lyons Valley Rd closed from Japatul Rd to Honey Springs Rd

Update 2 p.m.:  The Valley Fire temporary evacuation point for large animals is the County Animal Services South Shelter located at 5821 Sweetwater Road in Bonita. Call (619) 236-2341.  The evacuation center at Joan MacQueen Middle Schoolm 2001 Tavern Rd., Alpine has reopened. 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, right by Kathy Matranga

 

September  6, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The #ValleyFire has scorched 4,000 acres, according to Cal Fire’s incident report this morning. Cal Fire San Diego’s Twitter feed reports that 10 structures were destroyed overnight; the blaze is still zero percent contained.

View a map of the fire via NASA satellite imagery.

Road closures:  The San Diego County Sheriff advises that the following road closures are in effect:

  • Japatul Rd. and Carveacre Rd.
  • Lawson Valley Rd. and Skyline Truck Trail
  • Japatul Rd. and Sequan Truck Trail
  • Japatul Rd. and Hidden Glen Rd.

According to the US Forest Service, 335 firefighters are battling the flames on the ground. Structures are being threatened in the Carveacre and Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley, Deer Horn Valley and Sycuan Indian Reservation.


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VALLEY FIRE IN ALPINE THREATENS HOMES

Update 5:53 p.m.: The fire is now 1,500 acres. An evacuation order remains in effect for the community of Carve Acre.

Update 5:15 p.m.: Approximately 12,700 customers are without power as a result of the #ValleyFire. The fire is impacting SDG&E equipment in the vicinity of the fire. SDG&E has activated its Emergency Operations Center and is closely monitoring the fire. Additional cool zones are open this weekend (though not after 5pm): https://sdgenews.com/article/additional-cool-zone-hours-added-holiday-we...

Update 5:26 p.m.:  Cal Fire says the wildfire is moving west toward Lawson Valley. Those under evacuation orders can go to Steele Canyon High School at 12440 Campo Road, Spring Valley or Joan MacQueen Middle School at 2001 Tavern Road, Alpine.

Update 4:59 p.m.:  The Valley Fire is now 1,000 acres, per Cal Fire. Temperatures in the Alpine area have soared to 113 degrees.  Scanner traffic indicates a one-mile front on the fire burning toward Lawson Valley. A request for VBAT (very bit air tankers) has been denied due to them battling fires elsewhere.

Update 4:25 p.m.:  The Valley Fire is now 500 acres and zero percent contained. SDG&E's outage map indicates there are some power outages in the fire area. The Lawson Valley area in Jamul is now threatened.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Kristine Pamintuan, from her home on Japatul Valey Road.

September 5, 2020 (Alpine) – The #ValleyFire is burning westward at a critical rate of spread after starting near 4561 Spirit Trail in the Japatul Valley area of Alpine. The fast-moving brush fire has burned 300 to 400 acres and is threatening homes. Residents of Carveacre are under evacuation orders, the National Forest Service reports.

Multiple fire agencies have responded including air tankers and helicopters. SG&E's Sky Maverick is also doing water drops.

Firefighters are battling the blaze in 105 degree heat with winds 14-28 mph amid a red flag alert and gusty winds.


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2020 RAMONA ART & WINE FESTIVAL EXPANDS TO 3-DAY PROGRESSIVE EVENT NOV. 6-8

East County News Service

 

September 1, 2020 (Ramona) -- The 8th annual Ramona Art & Wine Festival is expanding to a progressive Festival from one day at one location, to three days at six Ramona wineries, with wine tasting, gourmet bites, silent auction, and art and vendor exhibitors at each participating winery on Friday to Sunday, November 6th to 8th, 2020.


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SDG&E PLANNED OUTAGES IN TRIPLE-DIGIT HEAT AND STORMS MAY ENDANGER SAFETY OF RESIDENTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: New power poles in Pine Valley are made of steel, not wood, for fire safety, as part of the upgrades that SDG&E has been installing across inland San Diego County.

Updated August 23, 2020 9:40 a.m. with responses from SDG&E.

August 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Amid a record-breaking heat wave with monsoonal thunderstorms, flash floods and lightning-sparked fires forecast as potential added hazards, SDG&E has announced plans to shut off power for hours during the heat of the day on Sunday and Monday across much of San Diego County.  

The outages are to upgrade wood poles to steel, among other equipment upgrades or maintenance planned.

The NWS has warned that the intense heat  this week can be life-threatening for those without air conditioning, yet the power outage will leave any residents who lack generators without access to safe, cool spaces amid the COVID-19 pandemic when many public, air-conditioned places are shut down.

Rural residents with electric well pumps will also be left without water for people or livestock to drink, as well as for fighting fires, as many rural residents equipped with tanks and hoses have done in past brush fires, unless they have invested in generators. Downed communications including internet and in some areas, phone service also leave residents unable to receive emergency alerts despite a high potential for emergencies during the extreme weather conditions.


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WILD WEATHER CONTINUES: THUNDERSTORMS, FLASH FLOODS AND HIGH HEAT

By Miriam Raftery

August 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County)  -- The monsoon season is here – with mountain thunderstorms expected each afternoon through Monday with brief heavy rain, small hail, lightning and strong erratic winds.  There is also a potential for flash flooding today and tomorrow across our inland region, as this map shows.

While thousands of lightning strikes across northern and central California have caused major wildfires,  Southern California has also had numerous lightning strikes, as the Earth Network image sent by the National Weather Service shows for Friday, Aug. 21:


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FLASH FLOOD WARNING: DANGEROUS THUNDERSTORMS THIS AFTERNOON

August 21, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- The National Weather Service has detected dangerous thunderstorms across portions of East County. A flash flood warning is in effect now through late this afternoon for areas in and around Pine Valley, Boulevard, Mount Laguna and Cuyamaca.

Move to high ground immediately if you are in these areas.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

COOL ZONES OPEN ACROSS EAST COUNTY DUE TO HIGH HEAT

East County News Service

August 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Cool zones adapted to COVID-19 public health protections have been opened at eight county libraries across San Diego’s inland region during the current extreme heat conditions.  The locations are open from 12 noon to 5 p.m.Mondays through Friday (except the Borrego Springs location, which is also open weekends). 

Masks and social distancing are required by all visitors and staff.  Temperature checks are also required before entering a cool zone and time limits may be imposed due to limited capacity. No animals are permitted, except for service animals. Below is the full list of county cool zones:


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EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING

East County News Service

August 14, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- The National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat warning in effect this weekend through Monday at 8 p.m. Dangerously hot conditions with temperatures from 98 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit are forecast across San Diego County’s mountains, valleys and desert areas as well as much of Riverside and San Bernadino counties.

Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those  working or participating in outdoor activities.

Follow these precautions:


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

ROLLING BLACKOUTS ACROSS COUNTY: BE PREPARED

 

East County News Service

August 14, 2020 (San Diego) -- The California Independent System Operator (ISO), which oversees the statewide electric grid, has directed SDG&E to initiate rotating, one-hour service interruptions (rotating outages) throughout its service territory in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The blackouts are underway and are currently affecting thousands of residences.  View a list of current outages and estimated restoration times at  https://www.sdge.com/residential/customer-service/outage-center/outage-map.

While the rotating outages will be widespread in the region, communities located in high fire threat districts, which experience public safety power shutoffs, will be exempt from the service interruptions, SDG&E announced today.



The local outages are the result of excessive heat driving up electricity use and putting strain on the grid. CASIO has declared a “Stage 3” power emergency because contingency reserves have fallen or are anticipated to fall below requirements and cannot be restored without service interruptions.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

MOST JULIAN BUSINESSES ARE OPEN FOR VISITORS, BUT JULIAN CARRIAGE COMPANY FALLS VICTIM TO PANDEMIC

 

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

August 13, 2020 (Julian) – Tourists are returning to Julian, the historic gold-mining town nestled in the mountains of San Diego's East County.  According to Robin Boland at the Julian Chamber of Commerce, nearly all businesses that are allowed to be open under state and county health mandates are now open, including shops, outdoor and takeout restaurants, breweries and wineries serving food. Though a few have limited hours, Boland assures, “There is still plenty to do and plenty of places to eat.”

One long-time town fixture, however, has fallen victim to the pandemic. Julian Carriage Company posted on Facebook July 31, "I'm sorry to hhave to inform you that due to COVID-19 and other extenuating circumstances we are no longer in business. Brett and I will sure miss everyone that came to Julian and rode our carriage. Life has taken us on another journey now and we are no longer in Julian. We love all of you!!!!!!! Thank you for an amazing 7 years!!!!!!! I will never forget this chapter of our lives."


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

FENTANYL DEALER SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON FOR DEATH OF RAMONA WOMAN

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: 2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose for most people (via the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency)
 
August 6, 2020 (Ramona) – Over 31,000 Americans died in 2018 of overdoses of synthetic opioids including fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin o morphine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports. The victims include a 33-year-old Ramona woman who died July 9, 2018 after buying illegal fentanyl from Michael Steen, 27. 
 
Yesterday in federal court, Judge Gonzalo Curiel sentenced Steen to 12 years in prison after he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute over 500 grams of Fentanyl—including the deadly dose that killed the Ramona woman.
 

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COUNTY CHARGES RAMONA FITNESS CENTER OWNER FOR DEFYING PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS

By East County News Service

File photo of treadmills via Bing

August 3, 2020 (Ramona) – The owner of the Ramona Fitness Center could face up to 30 months in jail or a $5,000 fine for allegedly staying open in violating of state and county public health orders.

According to a criminal complaint filed Friday by the San Diego County District Attorney, Peter San Nicolas committed the violations on June 2, 4 and 5 as well as on July 15 and 17.  Each violation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

All gyms were ordered closed in mid-March. In mid-June, they were briefly allowed to reopen, then shut down again in mid-July for indoor activities.


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