Wildfire News

JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE VOLUNTEERS CHALLENGE CAL FIRE/COUNTY FIRE CHIEF TONY MECHAM'S MEDICAL ASSISTANCE CLAIM

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

October 18, 2019 (Julian) -- San Diego County Fire Authority/CAL FIRE Chief Tony Mecham raised alarms about a medical situation at the Julian Fire Station No. 56, which led San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp to issue a court order in late May that forced Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District volunteers out of the embattled fire station. But volunteers with the JCFPD vigorously dispute Mecham’s assertions and contend he misconstrued the matter.

SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS ENCOURAGED TO START LOCAL FIRE SAFE COUNCILS TO PROTECT THEIR COMMUNITIES FROM THE EVER-PRESENT RISK OF WILDFIRE

East County News Service

October 16, 2019 (San Diego) -- Because fire season is now a year-round threat in San Diego, enlisting the support of community volunteers is critical to ensure the safety of the County. The Fire Safe Council of San Diego County is encouraging communities to create local fire safe councils to increase their neighborhood’s chances of surviving a wildfire. San Diego County currently has 41 community fire safe councils – the most of any county in the state – and they want to see that number grow.  

BRUSH FIRE IN TALMADGE AREA: EVACUATIONS AND POWER OUTAGE

 

Update:  Per SDPD, all evacuation orders and warnings associated with this incident have been lifted. The temporary evacuation point has been suspended and evacuees can return to their homes.

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

October 15, 2019 (San Diego) – A brush fire named the “#FairmountFire” in San Diego’s Talmadge area has shut down the I-8 east ramp to Fairmount Avenue and Fairmount Ave. from Montezuma to Mead. Motorists are asked to avoid the area.

San Diego Police is evacuating homes on Norma, Constance and Natalie Drives.  A temporary evacuation center has been set up at Hoover High School.

Temporary evacuation center at Hoover HS for those affected. Firefighters are in the canyon areas working with on containment and watching hot spots.

More than 4,000 customers are without power; SDG&E estimates power will be restored by 9:30 p.m.

SUPERVISOR JACOB ASKS BOARD TO APPROVE EMERGENCY EVACUATION ROUTE FOR CREST

Update: This item was approved by Supervisors on the consent calendar.
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
File photo: Crest Fire Safe Council, 2011
 
October 14, 2019 (Crest) – During the 2003 Cedar Fire that destroyed many homes in Crest, community residents found themselves trapped in gridlock on La Cresta Road, the primary evacuation route. On Tuesday, October 15, Supervisor Dianne Jacob will ask the County Board of Supervisors to approve acquiring easements from landowners over Suncrest Truck Trial as an emergency evacuation route.

FIRE WEATHER CONTINUES, GUSTY WINDS RETURN THIS WEEK

East County News Service

 

October 13, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Elevated fire concerns continue this week due to low relative humidity and dry vegetation, with gusty winds starting Tuesday and increasing through Friday. Next weekend could see a return of dangerous Santa Ana conditions.

100,000 EVACUATED AS SADDLERIDGE FIRE IN L.A. COUNTY BURNS DOZENS OF HOMES

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

Photo: L.A. County Fire Ops
 
October 11, 2019 (Los Angeles) – The #SaddleridgeFirein Los Angeles has scorched 7,500 acres and forced an estimated 100,000 residents to flee 23,000 homes in the Granada Hills, Porter Ranch and Sylmar areas in Los Angeles County.  The fire has burned at least 25 homes and is 13% contained.  One resident died of a heart attack in the fire and a firefighter suffered an eye injury, the Los Angeles Times reports.

SDG&E OPENS RESOURCE CENTER IN DESCANSO FOR RESIDENTS WITHOUT POWER

 

Update: A second resource center has been opened at the Golden Acorn Casino in Campo.

395 customers of SDG&E are currently without power; outages could impact up to 17,771, the utility warns

October 11, 2019 (Descanso) -- San Diego Gas & Electric will open a Community Resource Center today, Friday, October 11 at 8:00 a.m. in Descanso, CA due to power outages the company initiated during the Santa Ana wind event.  Water and snacks will be available and residents can charge devices, as well as get up-to-date information about power outages at the Center.

Community Resource Center location: Descanso Public Library (9545 River Drive, Descanso, CA 91916) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Additional resouce centers may open if the outage area is extended.

SDG&E WARNS OF POWER SHUT-OFFS IN NEXT 48 HOURS TO 28,701 CUSTOMERS IN EAST COUNTY COMMUNITIES

October 9, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- SDG&E has issued a warning that it may shut off power to 28,701 customers in East County communities starting in the next 48 hours due to wildfire risks.  A red flag alert has been issued for Thursday afternoon and Friday by the National Weather Service.  The following communities are currently forecasted to be impacted:

  • Banner Grade
  • Boulevard
  • Descanso
  • East Alpine
  • East Ramona
  • Fallbrook
  • Julian
  • Mesa Grande
  • Mt Laguna
  • Palomar Mountain
  • Pine Valley
  • Potrero
  • Rancho Santa Fe
  • Rincon
  • Santa Ysabel
  • Valley Center
  • Viejas
  • West Valley Center
  • Wynola

NO-COST CHIPPING & DEFENSIBLE SPACE SERVICES HELP HOMEOWNERS REDUCE RISK OF WILDFIRE DAMAGE

Source: Fire Safe Council of San Diego County

October 8, 2019 (San Diegoo) -- Residents in wildfire-prone communities throughout San Diego County are encouraged to take advantage of free chipping and defensible space services offered by the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County (FSCSDC).  Funding for this service is provided through a $1.355 million grant from the US Forest Service, Cleveland National Forest.  

CAL FIRE INCREASES STAFFING FOR EXTREME FIRE DANGER CONDITIONS

Source:  CAL FIRE

October 8, 2019 (Sacramento) - CAL FIRE firefighters are staffing up and preparing for the forecasted extreme fire weather across California. The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings and fire weather watches for areas of northern, central and southern California. This will likely be the strongest offshore wind event so far this season.

SUPREME COURT DENIES SDG&E APPEAL, ENDING UTILITY’S EFFORT TO CHARGE RATEPAYERS FOR 2007 FIRESTORM DAMAGES

By Miriam Raftery

October 7, 2019 (San Diego) – The U.S. Supreme Court announced yesterday that it has denied San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s request for the high court to hear an appeal of a California Supreme Court decision. The California court denied the utility company’s request to charge utility ratepayers for $379 million in liabilities for the firestorm damages beyond the $1.1 billion in insurance coverage.

ALPINE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT ENCOURAGES RESIDENTS TO ”PLAN, PRACTICE AND ESCAPE” DURING NATIONAL FIRE PREVENTION WEEK

East County News Service

October 7, 2019 (Alpine) -- The Alpine Fire Protection District in collaboration with the National Fire Protection Agency is spreading the word about Fire Prevention Week October 6-12The district also hosts its annual Open House at the fire station (1364 Tavern Rd.) on October 26th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  All are invited to come and visit the fire station, see the equipment up close and meet your firefighters. 

 

This year’s theme is “Plan and Practice your Escape!”

VEHICLE FIRE SPARKS BRUSH BLAZE NEAR GREEN VALLEY FALLS CAMPGROUND

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 6, 2019 (Rancho Cuyamaca State Park) – A motorcycle crash off State Route 79 near Green Valley Campground charred approximately six acres of brush today.  Around 70 firefighters from multiple agencies battled the #GreenFire by land and air, extinguishing it several hours after it began.

FIRE WEATHER FORECAST

East County News Service
 
October 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service predicts moderate Santa Ana winds this week, combined with low humidity for elevated fire danger.
 
While Orange County is forecast to have the most severe conditions,  relative humidity is expected to fall into low double digits in San Diego’s mountain areas and single digits in the desert.  West to northwest winds of 15-20 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 mph are anticipated starting Tuesday. By Thursday and Friday, falling humidity is expected to create critical fire weather conditions.  

$25,000 REWARD OFFERED TO FIND HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER WHO CRITICALLY INJURED BICYCLIST MICHELLE SCOTT, RAMONA CERT TEAM MEMBER

Fundraiser launched to help pay victim’s medical bills

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via ECM news partner 10 News

October 6, 2019 (Ramona) — A $25,000 reward is being offered anonymously for information leading to arrest of the driver of a black Ford Edge SUV with stolen license plates, NBC 7 reports. The vehicle struck and critically injured Ramona bicyclist Michelle Scott last Wednesday morning on State Route 67 north of Dye Road.  

SDG&E FORMS WILDFIRE SAFETY COMMUNITY ADVISORY COUNCIL TO STRENGTHEN WILDFIRE PREVENTION AND PREPAREDNESS IN THE REGION

Source: SDG&E

 

Photo: SDG&E air crane and helicopters help fight fires

 

October 1, 2019 (San Diego) – As part of its ongoing commitment to strengthen wildfire preparedness and prevention in the region, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) has formed the SDG&E Wildfire Safety Community Advisory Council, a group of diverse local leaders from public safety, tribal government, business, nonprofit, and academic organizations who will provide feedback and recommendations on how SDG&E can continue to protect the region from wildfires.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: NOT EVERY HERO WEARS A CAPE

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

September 30, 2019 (San Diego) - The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has announced "Not Every Hero Wears a Cape, Plan and Practice Your Escape!" as the theme for Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12, 2019. This year’s campaign recognizes the everyday people who motivate their households to develop and practice a home fire escape plan; these seemingly basic behaviors can have life-saving impact.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: FALLING RIGHT INTO FIRE SEASON

This is the first week of Fall, and with it comes Santa Ana winds!

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

September 27, 2019 (San Diego) - Though fire season is year round, Fall typically brings triple-digit temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds bringing high fire danger and red flag warnings.

BRUSH FIRE CHARS 52 ACRES IN LAKESIDE

Editor’s note: Due to a problem with our email server yesterday we were unable to send East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts on this fire. We have resolved the issue.
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Robin Pawl
 
September 26, 2019 (Lakeside) – A brush fire scorched 52 acres yesterday afternoon, briefly threatening homes along Willow Road in Lakeside. Some residences were evacuated, though at least one homeowner stayed in her home with her horses and family, watching wind-whipped embers rekindle the blaze as firefighters battled to save homes. 

CAL FIRE ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF FUNDING FOR PROJECTS THAT PROACTIVELY ADDRESS FIRE PREVENTION AND FOREST HEALTH

Souce:  CAL FIRE

September 26, 2019 (Sacramento) - The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced the availability of over $80 million for Forest Health and Fire Prevention projects. CAL FIRE is soliciting applications for projects that work to proactively prevent catastrophic wildfires and restore forests to healthy, functioning ecosystems while also sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

EVACUATIONS LIFTED IN DEHESA; FIRE NOW 21% CONTAINED

 

Sign up for free East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts:  https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/wild-fire-alerts

September 25, 2019 8 a.m. -- The Dehesa Fire is now 21% contained, Cal Fire reports. 

9 p.m. -- All evacuation orders, warnings and road closures have been lifted, County Emergency Sevices reoprts.
 
5:30 p.m.  --The  Sheriff’s Department has issued an evacuation order in the area of Dehesa Road and Sloane Canyon Road, County Emergency Services reports.  A temporary evacuation point has been designated at Los Coches Middle School located at 9669 Dunbar Lane in El Cajon. If you need emergency assistance with evacuation, call 9-1-1.  The fire has burned over 150 acres, according to Cal Fire.
 
4:25 p.m. -- CHP is preparing to shut down Sloan Canyon at Dehesa and eastbound Dehesa from  Casino Road to Japatul
 
3:50 p.m. -- The #DehesaFire is now 25 acres and burning at a rapid rate of  speed, Cal Fire reports.

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alert Service

Photo, right by Doug Stocker, taken from the gun club on Sycuan Truck Trail

September 24, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- A brush fire reported by Cal Fire is burning east of Dehesa Road near Sloan Canyon, east of the Sycuan Casino, Cal Fire reports.  Ground crews are battling the #DehesaFire and multiple air tankers have been requested. Scanner traffic indicates additional engine crews have been requested for structure protection.

Firefighers from multiple agencies meanwhile have suppressed a small brush fire near West Main and Travelodge in El Cajon  that scorched 1.5 and burned within 50 feet of homes in Fletcher Hills.  The cause remains under investigation.

FIRE IN FLETCHER HILLS HALTED AT 1.5 ACRES

East County News Service

Photo: Heartland Fire & Rescue

September 24, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Crews from multilpe agencies held a brush fire that began in a canyon around 1:10 p.m. today in Fletcher Hills to 1.5 acres, with no property damage or injuries reported.

According to Sonny Saghera,  public information officer at Heartland Fire & Rescue, Heartland crews from El Cajon and La Mesa, assisted by crews from San Diego Fire & Rescue, Barona, Viejas, San Miguel, Cal Fire, Santee and Lakeside, assisted by El Cajon Public Work and Police were dispatched to multiple reports of a hillside on fire near the intersection of W. Main St. and S.Travelodge Dr.

CAL FIRE ISSUES CORRECTIONS ON C-130 PLANE SHOWN IN COUNTY VIDEO, AFTER ECM INQUIRY

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2019 (San Diego) -- On August 30th, the County of San Diego issued a news release titled “CAL FIRE Prepares To Add New Aerial Attack Plane”.  It incorrectly stated, “CAL FIRE plans in the near future to purchase a retardant-dropping C-130 air tanker and the agency’s pilots got a chance to train in the region this month.” 

A video did show a pilot training in Ramona, as ECM reported. Cal Fire Captain and Public Information officer Issac Sanchez, in the video, indicated that Cal Fire hoped to have a C-130 permanently stationed in the region within the next couple of years.

However, yesterday ECM received an e-mail from Thomas Dominguez, who says he is a former firefighter. He disputed the County’s statements and indicated that the aircraft in question is to be given, not sold, to Cal Fire by the federal government. He also stated that the aircraft is not currently equipped with a fire retardant system. 

CalFire has confirmed that these are truthful statements, and that this process will likely take a couple of years, though will ultimately make our region safer.

WHAT WILDFIRES DID TO ONE CALIFORNIA TOWN'S SCHOOLS IN FOUR YEARS

By Ricardo Cano | CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

September 18, 2019 (Middletown, Calif.) - Catherine Stone pulled into a packed parking lot at Middletown High School on the hot and excessively windy Saturday of September 12, 2015. A small but fast-growing fire had erupted hours earlier, a dozen miles away on Cobb Mountain. First responders needed an evacuation center and wanted to use Middletown High.

ACCUSED ARSONIST ARRESTED AFTER SERIES OF BRUSH FIRES IN OTAY

East County News Service
 
September 16, 2019 (Otay Valley) – Ramon Guevara, 49, has been arrested by San Diego Police on suspicion of arson, Times of San Diego reports.  
 
The suspect is charged with 19 brush fires that have ignited since Friday near a homeless camp on Beyer Way in the Otay Valley area, according to San Diego Police Sergeant Matt Botkin.
 
Witness descriptions and a helicopter search led to the arrest of the suspect. Crews from multiple fire departments responded to the blazes.  

BRUSH FIRE NEAR SDSU

East County News Service

Photo by Hannah Gbeh

September 15, 2019 (San Diego) - A brush fire is burnng at 5500 Canyon Crest near SDSU. SDFD has many firefighters on the ground as well as air resources on this fire and have now halted forward spread.

A student apartment complex has been evacuated. SDG&E cut electricity to trolley lines and MTS has rerouted trolley and bus service in the vicinity. A bus bridge is operating between Alvarado Trolley station and SDSU. The College Ave. offramp from I-8  is shut down due to the fire. 

Please avoid the area if possible. 

LOCAL FIRST RESPONDERS AND RESIDENTS REMEMBER 9-11 ATTACKS

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 11, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001 which killed  thousands of innocent Americans shocked the consciousness of our nation.  Here in San Diego’s East County, first responders and residents impacted by the disaster have been speaking out, striving to make sure that we never forget the tragedy and lessons learned on that fateful day.

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