FIREFIGHTERS BATTLED FIVE FIRES AT ONE TIME

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By Nadin Abbott

Photo:  Firefighters battle spot fire in Lakeside; photo by Jeff Holz

May 26, 2013 (San Diego East County)—Fire season is off to an early start. Yesterday, even as firefighters fought to contain the 1800-acre San Felipe fire in the mountains of East County, four new fires drew resources from across the region.  Here is a wrap-up on those fires in Ramona, Lakeside, the Santee/San Diego boundary area, Dulzura, and the border region.

A fire at Highway 67 and Mussey Grade Road in Ramona was kept to two acres, thanks to air attack units that reached the blaze before firefighters on the ground.  A strike team from San Diego Fire Department was diverted from the San Felipe Fire, but even at Code 3, that’s a 40-minute drive. another team was sent up from San Diego.

A series of spot fires closed Highway 67 in Lakeside for an hour or more, resulting in a Sig Alert.  Lakeside Middle School was at risk briefly, per scanner traffic. Lakeside and Heartland Firefighters battled these blazes.

Meanwhile a fire in Dulzura at 1020 Marron Valley Road started by a gun club. It was held at 10 acres thanks to an air attack, the Deerhorn Valley Antler reported. 

A small fire along I-15 north and 52 East near Santee also kept firefighters busy.

In addition, ECM’s fire monitor learned of an incident at the San Ysidro near the border fence earlier in the day, which briefly closed State Route 125 at Birch due to a canyon fire swiftly doused. 

No property damage was reported from yesterday’s new fires, though the San Felipe Fire has charred extensive acreage and resulted in several minor injuries to firefighters. The San Felipe wildfire, which began with a controlled burn by Cal-Fire that got out of control.

Cal Fire, as of early May, had already responded to 500 more call than usual this time of year. It’s shaping up to be a severe fire season due to drought.

If you live in the rural-wildland interface, be sure to clear defensible space if you have not yet done so, fire officials advise.  Multiple fires burning simultaneously can strain resources even in urban areas, since  fire units may be dispatched to distant fires as part of the mutual aid agreements that exist in the county to quell fires while they are small.

Special request for our readers:  With so many fires in May and  a severe season forecast, East County Magazine’s resources to cover so many wildfires are spread thin. Several readers spotted typos in an alert yesterday. We apologize for errors in our haste to gather info on five fires at once and keep you informed as swiftly as possible. We need donations to hire additional fire monitors and a back-up alerts editor, replenish our wildfire reporting fund to send reporters to the fire lines, plus prepare live radio announcements of major alerts. Can you please help with a donation or a sustaining monthly pledge?  You can donate at http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/donate; please be sure to check East County Magazine on our publisher’s list of options for online donations, or send a check to 4438 Hideaway Place, La Mesa, CA 91941. With your help, we can improve and expand our coverage to keep you safe and informed.