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By Nadin Abbott

May 12, 2013 (Lakeside) Updated May 13, 2013—A fire that led to voluntary evacuations on Mapleview in Lakeside yesterday serves as an early warning of the difficult fire season forecast due to unusually dry conditions this year.  According to Lakeside Fire Chief Andy Parr, the fire started at 3:40 p.m. and crews quickly mobilized. The fire started at the top of the hill and raced downhill towards the San Diego River.

“It is very dry, it was bigger and moved faster than they usually do at this time of the year,” Chief Parr told ECM. This is expected to be a very busy fire season and Chief Parr emphasized, “it is critical that residents have defensible space.”

At the top of the hill, one property stood out. (Photo, top left).   The owner had cleared 100 feet of defensible space as recommended around the property, Chief Parr pointed out.

This buys time for firefighters, providing the important ground they need to make a stand. It is also critical that residents remove tree branches six feet from the ground, and Cal Fire also recommends you harden your home using fire-safe materials.

For more information on Fire service recommendations for creating defensible space, see:

According to Chief Parr (photo, right), evacuations were voluntary, not mandatory. The Chief requests that if people plan to leave, they do so early in the incident, because they fire department is going to park vehicles in front of the property and will remain there for hours.

This fire was under a Unified command with crews from Lakeside, Heartland, Cal-Fire and Barona. Swift mobilization stopped the blaze at several acres. 

According to the CHP, this fire started at a shooting range.

The fire created some tense moments for some residents, including Catherine Gorka, who owns a tropical bird breeding business and watched as smoke encroached on the hill behind her aviaries. 

Kari Koch, standing 300 feet from where the fire started, told ECM the fire “never got close, but I was able to see the flames.” Her home was across the street, a property built by her grandfather, which has been improved over the years.

Ashli Hurst said that she“saw the flames from the rodeo grounds. It was kind of cool.”

That cool factor went away as she realized that it might be her friend’s house.

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The Hidden Story buried in this Fire


This is a Plead for our Military American Vets who were there when we needed them and now when they need us not to turn our backs.
Michele, on Mothers Day, received the worst Mothers Day gift a community could give: We sent her (indirectly & not knowing) to ICU in critical condition at the Burn unit hanging on for her life.  Michele was the Mother who was sent to ICU from being caught if the Lakeside fire Sunday.   The Fire Chief says he doesn't know how the fire started, that it could have been due to the hot heat, dry conditions and brittle vegetation in the area.
Yet we are listening to 'rumors" that it was started by the unfortunate vets that were living homeless there.  Why, because it's easier for us to turn the other cheek and not help when help is needed.  Call it human nature or what.  The reality is we have a Lady, a Mother, a Citizen who offered her life in military service to our country so we won't be homeless.  How does that work? When we needed Michele to defend & help us, when she needs us to defend & help her...We turn our Backs?
Come on we, are better than that, Says Walter Choate who indirectly promised Michele and other homeless vets in our community that he has a business plan that will hire them, help the waste tire problem in county, save taxpayers money from diverting tires from our landfills; and with the monies received from offering these innovative recycled tire swings made into horses (Please see Website: that we can have a safe, clean, caring home for our local American Vets who for whatever reason, have found themselves homeless.
They have been getting the run around from our government officials in their respective requests for funding of this business project.  They have a business plan, working with the Small Business Administration and the SBDC to make sure their plan is reasonable, but  they are getting no where with the local officials.
I could have had Michele employed, housed, and eating a loving Mothers Day meal Sunday had our project been funded and had the community support.  I realize we can't reach those who don't want help, but I have a responsibility to reach those who do. Mr. Choate, a Vet Himself, States; You never leave your man behind & Michele is one of those.  
How can we fund a beer making business with over $650.000 saying they were going to create jobs for the local economy; only to have them go bankrupt and stick the county with debt and everything involved to sell the assets which will cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollar more.  
Then when a business comes before us with a workable business plan, Will create jobs for our local economy, save taxpayers money, bring tax revenues back into our treasury from the sells of great recycled products,... and do what's right: Snatch our American Vets out of  a hopeless situation and bring them back with the honor due them.  
Yes, we are better than that.  Let's turn this fire into a fire in our hearts; by letting Michele know we are there for her, we will work with Mr. Choate's business proposal to get this project off the ground, and she will have a home, a job, and a head start when she recovers.
Please sent cards, flowers, whatever to Michele.  Not only for her, but to let our fellow captive, homeless vets know we haven't forgotten them.   Michele's at the UCSD Burn Center, 200 West Arbor Dr., San Diego, 92103
Let her know we are here and not to let go.