Wildfire News

ARSON REPORTED AT FLETCHER HILLS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 10, 2017 (El Cajon) – A witness reported seeing a think white male wearing a red hoody light a fire intentionally on a hillside near Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church on Thursday night, then take off running. The suspect remains at large.

2-1-1 SAN DIEGO HELPING, CONNECTING PEOPLE DURING LILAC FIRE; VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED AT 2-1-1

 

 

East County News Service

Sunday, December 10, 2017 (San Diego) – 2-1-1 San Diego, an independent local nonprofit that serves as a resource for community, health and disaster services, reports it increased its service capacities in the hours following the outbreak of the fast-moving Lilac Fire in North San Diego County.

LILAC FIRE HAS DESTROYED 105 STRUCTURES, 45 RACE HORSES KILLED

 

Full containment could take until Dec. 21

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Twitter

December 9, 2017 (San Diego) –The Lilac fire has destroyed 105 structures, injured at least five people and killed at least 46 thoroughbred race horses at the famed San Luis Rey Downs facility. 

Another 1,500 structures remained threatened today, Cal Fire reports. Firefighters are holding the fire at 4,100 acres, but full containment may take until December 21st.

The good news is that overnight, firefighters made good progress in increasing containment to 20 percent. Winds were calm this morning but picking up later in the day, with a red flag warning remaining in effect until 8 p.m. Sunday.

IF YOU HAD FOOD SPOIL, BUSINESS INTERRUPTED OR OTHER DAMAGE FROM POWER OUTAGE, YOU CAN SUBMIT A CLAIM

 

Save receipts, take photos, and document your losses

East County News Service

December 8, 2017 (San Diego) – If you suffered damages due to planned power outages, you can submit a claim to SDG&E asking for reimbursement. SDG&E has posted information on its website:  https://www.sdge.com/business/services/making-claim or scroll down to view the information provided by the utility:

BOIL WATER ORDERS ISSUED IN BOULEVARD, JULIAN AND CAMPO DUE TO POWER OUTAGES

Update December 9, 2017: A boil water has been aded for Vallecito County Park, 37349 Great Southern Overland in Julian, as well as the sites below.

December 8, 2017 (San Diego's East County)--The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a Boil Water Advisory and Public Notification effective immediately for the following:  

  • Boulevard Pines Mobile Home & RV Park at 39375 Old Highway 80, Boulevard, CA 91905
  • Butterfield Ranch at 14925 Great Southern Overland, Julian, CA, 92036
  • Cameron Corners at 31484 Hwy 94, Campo, CA 91906
  • Campo Group at 31471 Hwy 94, Campo, CA 91906 

Due to the recent power outage, these public water systems have lost pressure in their water distribution systems.  As a precaution, Boil Water Advisories are being issued until laboratory results demonstrate the water is free from bacterial contamination. 

Click here for instructions on boiling water and alternative methods of disinfection

ACLU TO MONITOR WILDFIRE VICTIMS' RIGHTS

 

Social service agencies are required by law to provide disaster-related assistance without asking for information or documents

East County News Service

December 8, 2017 (San Diego) -- As wildfires rage in Southern California this week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of San Diego and Imperial Counties is on alert to protect the rights of fire victims in this region.

LOW-INCOME FIRE SURVIVORS TO GET REBUILDING HELP FROM UNITED WAY

 

East County News Service

December 8, 2017 (San Diego) – Wildfires are currently devastating regions of Southern California, with hundreds of thousands of acres destroyed and people displaced from Ventura to San Diego Counties, including the growing Lilac Fire. United Way of San Diego County is working with United Way of Greater Los Angeles, which has set up the Southern California Wildfire Fund to help victims of these fires rebuild their lives. For this fund, 100 percent of the donations collected through this designated fund will support long-term recovery and re-building efforts for low-income families affected by the fires.

WESTINGHOUSE GENERATORS RECALLED

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced that Westinghouse Portable Generators have been recalled by MWE Investments because they can overheat, posing a fire hazard: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2018/Westinghouse-Portable-Generators-Recalled-by-MWE-Investments-Due-to-Fire-Hazard.

READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY ARE CALIFORNIA’S HOMES BURNING? IT ISN’T NATURAL DISASTER, IT’S BAD PLANNING

 

By Richard Halsey

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

December 8, 2017 (San Diego) - Large, high-intensity wildfires are an inevitable and natural part of life in California. The destruction of our communities is not. But many of the political leaders we elect and planning agencies we depend upon to create safe communities have failed us. They have allowed developers to build in harm’s way, and left firefighters holding the bag.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE VICTIMS COULD TAP INSURANCE FOR EVACUATION COST REIMBURSEMENT

 

Insurance may help evacuated residents even if homes not damaged

Source: California Insurance Commissioner

Photo: ECM news partner 10 News

December 8, 2017 (San Diego) – Thousands of residents in San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties ordered to evacuate due to wildfires may have homeowner or renter insurance coverage to help with evacuation and relocation costs, even if their homes are not damaged or destroyed, and in many cases no deductible is required.

HAZARDOUS FIRE WEATHER CONTINUES THIS WEEKEND: RED FLAG AND HIGH WIND WARNINGS EXTENDED THROUGH SUNDAY

 

East County News Service

 

December 8, 2017 (San Diego) -- Santa Ana winds will continue this weekend, the National Weather Service advises.  This will combine with very low humidity (5-10% minimums during the days away from the coast and poor nighttime recovery) to bring hazardous fire weather conditions. A red flag warning has been extended until 8 p.m. Sunday from the mountains west to the coast.

SWEETWATER FIRE CONTAINED IN JAPATUL AREA

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alert Service

Photo: Brush Fire Partyline on Facebook

 

December 8, 2017 (Japatul) -- Firefighters have contained an 8-10 acre brush fire that started south of I-8 near the Japatul exit in Cleveland National Forest.

Multiple units responded from The U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire, Viejas Fire, Alpine and Lakeside Fire departments to the Sweetwater Fire.

UPDATES ON LILAC FIRE: HELP AVAILABLE FOR EVACUEES AND THOSE WITHOUT POWER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: SDG&E mobile command north of I-8 at Japatul has free wi-fi, charging stations and water for those affected by power outages in East County.

December 8, 2017 (San Diego) -- President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for San Diego County due to the Lilac Fire to maximize firefighting resources and the military is also providing aircrafts to fight the fires. The declaration does not cover rebuilding for fire survivors, which could be made through a separation action later.

The National Weather Service’s revised forecast now indicates high winds will continue through Sunday, so the danger of new fires remains high and all residents are asked to refrain from any activities that could spark a fire.

Countywide, thousands remain without power, many due to planned outages to prevent ignition, others due to damaged equipment and fires. But more help is now available.

RESIDENTS VOICE ANGER OVER POWER OUTAGES

Photo, left: Map of outages in San Diego County as of 7:45 a.m. today.

December 8, 2017 (San Diego's East County) -- SDG&E has sent warnings to 170,000 San Diego County residents to be prepared for power shutdowns due to the high fire danger posed by strong Santa Ana winds. The utility has already shut off power to thousands of homes in communities across our region including portions of Alpine, Bonsall,  Boulevard, Campo, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Fallbrook, Jamul, Julian, Mount Laguna, Potrero, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Vista and more.

The utility has warned residents that their power could remain off for several days until it can be safely restored. The shut-offs, meant to prevent powerline fires such as those that ignited the 2007 firestorms, are sparking concerns and outrage among some residents, particularly in rural areas. 

Electric well pumps don’t work with the power out, leaving no way to provide water for people or livestock.  Some rural areas lack cell phone service, leaving people with no way to learn about wildfires or other emergencies, unless they have a backup generator. Many residents are also shivering in cold temperatures dipping into the 40s at night, some left without electric heating.

GOVERNOR DECLARES EMERGENCY OVER LILAC FIRE IN NORTH COUNTY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

Update December 8, 2017 8:45 a.m.:  Cal Fire reports the fire has burned 65 structures but remains at 4,100 acres. Evacuation orders now extend west to Camp Pendleton.  Four civilian injuries and two firefighter injuries have occurred. 

December 7, 2017 (San Diego) – Governor Jerry Brown has issued an emergency declaration over the Lilac Hills Fire, which has scorched over 4,100 acres in the Fallbrook-Bonsall area. The County has also declared an emergency.

The devastating blaze is burning southwest and is still zero percent contained.  It started at 11:15 a.m. west of I-15 and north of Lilac Road on the Pala Mesa.

By this evening, at least 20 homes have burned, County Emergency Services reports. That includes numerous residences in the Rancho Manserate Country Club community.  An estimated 5,000 more residences are threatened.  Two people suffered burns and have been taken to a hospital.

Dozens of horses have died including many at the San Luis Rey training center, Times of San Diego reports. In Bonsall, numerous horses were let loose, running wildly through billowing smoke, a photo posted by Horses so Fine on Instagram states, adding, “Pray for them.”  Community volunteers have come forward to help save many horses and the Del Mar Fairgrounds has opened facilities for livestock including horses.

WINDS TOPPLE TREES, TIP OVER TRUCKS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2017 (San Diego) -- High winds roaring through San Diego County today have wreaked havoc. 

In Carlsbad, a tree fell onto an elderly man and killed him.  Santa Ana winds knocked a semi-truck and trailer onto their sides on I-8 east, shortly before high winds forced closure of I-8 east of Alpine.  A sign truck was nearly blown off the towering Pine Valley Bridge.  In Lakeside the community Christmas tree toppled over; Lakeside's Chamber of Commerce posted a photo on Facebook, vowing to restore it after the winds die down.

Strong winds also led SDG&E to shut off power to thousands of homes in communities across the region, with some slated to be without power for days.

LILAC FIRE IN FALLBROOK-BONSALL AREA

 

 

Update 4 p.m.  The fire is now 2,000 acres and still 0 percent contained, per Cal Fire. New evacuation orders: South of Hwy 76 West of I-15 Freeway North of Gopher Canyon Rd, East of East Village Way & Mission Rd.

Update 3 p.m.:  Lilac Fire is now 500 acres and 0 percent contained. County Emergency Services warns of "dangerous fires" in North County. EW evacuation warnings are in effect: North of Pala Rd., South of Reche  Rd., West of I-15 Freeway, East of Green Canyon Rd. & W. Mission Rd.  Cal Fire is excercising its option to get military helicopters as well as San Diego Fire & Rescue night-flying helicopters.

For highway closure info check here:  https://www.sigalert.com/map.asp?lat=33.31155&lon=-117.34502&z=1

Three temporary evacaution shelters have been set up at Fallbrook High School, Pechanga Casino and Pala Casino. The Del Mar Fairgrounds is accepting large animals.

Update 1:30 p.m.  The Lilac Fire is now 175 acres, Cal Fire reports.  Two structures have been burned.

December 7, 2017 (Fallbrook) -- The Lilac Fire is burning in North County near the Interstate 15 and State Route 76 junction in the Fallbrook-Bonsall area.  Several southbound lanes on I-15 are shut down due to the fast-moving blaze fueled by 30-40 mph winds.

 
A mobile home park and Sullivan School west of highway 395 have been evacuated.  
 

RED CROSS OPENS EMERGENCY SHELTERS DUE TO POWER OUTAGES

December 7, 2017 (San Diego) -- The American Red Cross is opening two emergency shelters this morning at 9:00 a.m. in support of residents impacted by power outages. The shelters are in El Cajon and Escondido. ECM has contacted the County to ask why shelters have not been opened in mountain and rural areas, where many of the outages have occurred and ratepayers have been advised power could remain off for up to five days due to the high winds and extreme fire danger.

At this time, SDG&E reports more than 5,000 customers are without power. Extreme fire weather continues in San Diego County today.

Per County Emergency Services, here are the shelter locations:

SDG&E SHUTS POWER OFF TO 1,326 CUSTOMERS: MAY BE DOWN FOR DAYS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Tonight SDG&E has shut off power due many areas across East County and North County due to “an extreme weather event with high winds and dry conditions,” according to SDG&E’s website, which warns, “Current conditions indicate that power may remain out for several days before it can be safely restored. If your power is out, please be sure you have adequate emergency supplies on hand for an extended period of time and check here for the most current information on expected restoration times.”

The action comes just days after the California Public Utilities Commission ruled that SDG&E cannot bill ratepayers for its uninsured losses from the 2007 firestorms, when state regulators found its power lines responsible for three major fires.

SDGE WARNS 170,000 TO BE PREPARED FOR POWER OUTAGES AS HIGH WINDS HIT AREA

Public urged to use caution to avoid infernos like those scorching Los Angeles and Ventura

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Thirdiphoto: Skirball Fire created hellacious conditions that shut down the 405 freeway today near the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

December 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – High winds fueling devastating fires in Los Angeles are set to hit San Diego County tomorrow, with gusts of 70 mph or more in some areas. Currently no fires are burning in San Diego County, though smoke from a fire in Mexico is visible near the border.  But the situation could turn perilous quickly if new fires start.  National Weather Forecaster Alex Tardy says Santa Ana winds could blow a fire in the inland area all the way to the coast.

RED FLAG WARNING EXTENDED THROUGH SATURDAY AS FIRES SCORCH SEVERAL COUNTIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

December 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – With wind gusts forecast up to 90 miles an hour in San Diego’s mountains and valleys, along with low humidity, the National Weather Service is warning of the potential for explosive wildfires.  A red flag warning has been extended to Saturday evening.

Adding to the danger, many firefighters statewide are deployed to fight major fires burning in Ventura, Los Angeles and San Bernadino Counties, so mutual aide resources could be stretched thin if major fires develop in San Diego County.

BE PREPARED FOR POWER OUTAGES, SDG&E WARNS

 

By Miriam Raftery


December 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E is warning East County residents of potential power outages this week due to high fire danger. On Tuesday, the utility did shut off power to the Descanso and Cuyamaca areas for several hours during gusty Santa winds, after initially warning that power could remain off until Friday to prevention ignition of power lines.

It’s important to be prepared for outages.  During wildfires in Northern California last month, several people died because they were unable to evacuate. After the power went out, some elderly residents could not disconnect automatic garage door openers or lift heavy garage doors, so they were unable to get their vehicles out.

MAJOR FIRES IN VENTURA, LOS ANGELES, RIVERSIDE AND SAN BERNADINO COUNTIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesty Ventura County Fire Department

December 5, 2017 (San Diego) – At least 150 families have lost their homes just weeks before the holidays, due to fast moving brush fires fueled by Santa Winds across southern California. 

Most devastating is the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, which has scorched 50,000 acres and forced 30,000 people to evacuate; the blaze is 50% contained.  In Los Angeles County, the Creek Fire has burned 11,000 acres with no containment thus far;  the Rye Fire charred 5,000 acres and is 50% contained. 

In San Bernadino County, the Meyers Fire forced shut down of Highway 15 and Highway 215 though most lanes are now reopened.  It charred 35 acres and is 50% contained.

BURNED OUT? ROBBED? ACCIDENT VICTIM? TAX BILL TAKES AWAY DEDUCTIONS FOR PERSONAL CASUALTY LOSSES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (San Diego) – If you lose your home or personal property in a natural disaster such as a wildfire or earthquake, or suffer theft, accident or vandalism, you won’t be able to deduct those property losses off your taxes after December. That’s because both the Senate and House versions of the Republicans’ tax bill eliminates these tax breaks.

RED FLAG WARNING: CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Updated December 4, 2017

December 2, 2017 (San Diego) – The National Weather Service in San Diego is warning of prolonged, critical fire conditions in all areas of our county starting Monday morning through the end of the week. 

A red flag alert is in effect for coastal, mountain and valley areas through Thursday due to low humidity, above average temperatures and strong offshore winds.  A high wind warning has also been issued, with Santa Ana winds at 20 to 30 miles per hour and gusts up to 55 miles an hour forecast.

53 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS PRESS FOR DISASTER AID FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE SURVIVIVORS, INCLUDING ALL SAN DIEGO MEMBERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Smouldering remains of a mobile home park burned in the Tubbs Fire in October 2017;  CC by ATS

December 2, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Yesterday, 53 members of Congress including all five San Diego-area representatives signed a letter sent to House Appropriations Committee leaders urging that $4.4 billion to aid California wildfire survivors be added to a disaster relief fund. 

The action comes after President Donald Trump previously ignored pleas from California legislators and Governor Jerry Brown, sending a measure to Congress that included funds for hurricane survivors in Texas and Florida, but not a penny to help those who lost homes, businesses or family members in the October California firestorms.

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