Wildfire News

VEGETATION FIRE #PARCFIRE IN SANTEE APPEARS FULLY CONTAINED

SDSO advising residents of Parc One to shelter in place

East County News Service

Photo credit: Google and in-house

July 19, 2021 (Santee) -- The initial response to the Parc Fire (also appearing in some places spelled Park Fire) in Santee appears to have been successful, and poses little danger to neighbors. Parc One residents are being asked to shelter in place.

SD County Fire Scanner broke news of the fire and its early containment on twitter at approximately 2:20 p.m. this afternoon July 19, and and the fire is (almost) out before it even started. They report that firefighting crews expect to be "mopping up" over the next 2-3 hours.

NOISE ADVISORY: MILITARY TRAINING NEAR EAST ALPINE AND DESCANSO JULY 21 AND JULY 26

East County News Service

Photo: U.S. Army helicopter training, cc via Bing

July 17, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego County has issued a noise advisory for East County’s Descanso and East Alpine communities due to military set for Wednesday, July 21 and Monday, July 26.

POWER LINES SPARK FIRE THAT CROSSES BORDER IN TECATE

 

Update 9:25 p.m.: The #BorderFire is now 30 acres and 50 percent contained.  Evacuation orders have been lifted and the temporary evacuation point is closed.

By Miriam Raftery

Photos via CalFire and CalFire international partners

July 15, 2021 (Tecate) – Downed power lines in Mexico sparked the #BorderFire this afternoon, which crossed onto the U.S. side of the international boundary at Tecate, according to Cal Fire on Twitter. Forward spread has been stopped.

The fire began near Tecate Mission Road, west of the Tecate Port of Entry The blaze burned 20 acres at a moderate rate of spread toward the northeast,

An evacuation warning was issued for the community of Tecate and a temporary evacuation point was established at the Potrero Elementary School. 

 

GABRIEL FIRE IN VALLEY CENTER

East County News Service

Photo via @CALFIRESANDIEGO on Twitter

July 12, 2021 (Valley Center) - Cal Fire is at scene with cooperating agencies at a vegetation fire near San Gabriel Way east of Couser Canyon Road in Valley Center.

The fire has burned three acres, moving at a slow rate of spread with potential structure threat.

 


 

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MARRON VALLEY FIRE NEAR DULZURA BRIEFLY THREATENED POWERLINES AND HOMES

By Miriam Raftery

Photos via Cal Fire

Update July 15, 2021:  The cause of the Marron Fire was a truck that ignited brush, says Cal Fire Captain Thomas Shoots .  "The gentleman was trying to get to the South Bay Rod and Gun Club" but became disoriented on a dirt road and had a techhnical issue with his vehicle, says Shoots, adding that the driver was cooperative and remained on the scene after his truck burned.

July 11, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – The #MarronFire, which began last night along marron Valley Road south of the South Bay Rod & Gun Club in Dulzura, burned approximately 52 acres overnight. The blaze briefly threatened homes and high voltage power lines, however this morning, Cal Fire reports the fire is 40% contained. 

ROAD FIRE CLOSES WB I-8, PROMPTS EVACUATIONS IN PORTIONS OF DESCANSO & VIEJAS RESERVATION

Update: 7 p.m.: Caltrans San Diego reports all lanes re-opened to traffic 
 
#RoadFire removed from CHP Incidents page
 
No official public updates found on acres burned or % contained since 3:30 p.m.
 
Update: 3:30 p.m.: Initial Attack was successful according to retired fire captain Scott Culkin. Out of town air resources released.
 
Thank you: United States Forest Service (U.S.F.S.), Calfire/S.D. County, Alpine, Viejas, and others. Firefighters will be present throughout the night to contain the fire and put out any hotspots.
 
"Forward spread has stopped," according to Cleveland National Forest, lead agency on the #RoadFire, yet also reporting only 5% contained, as of 3:30 p.m.
 
Update 1:50 p.m.: Per Cleveland National Forest on Twitter, the #RoadFire is now 70 acres and holding, with a moderate rate of spread. The Humane Society urges pet owners to take pets with you if you evacuate, since you may not be able to return to provide food and water during the fire and intense heat.
 
By Jonathan Goetz
 
Photos: #RoadFire by James Cecil (Pic 1: Mountain, Pic 2: SDG&E Helicopter)
 
July 10, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – All lanes westbound on Interstate 8 west of State Route 79 are closed due to a brush fire, reports Caltrans San Diego.

COUNTY RESIDENTS ASKED TO TAKE PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFF SURVEY

By Miriam Raftery

July 3, 2021 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services is asking all County residents to fill out a survey about the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program.  The SDG&E program to shut off power during high fire-risk conditions has sparked controversy across the backcountry among residents left without electricity to power their homes, businesses, wells pumps, and other vital needs. The deadline to complete the survey is July 13.

The survey asks residents whether they received adequate notification of such outages and whether they experienced financial losses, among other details – the first step toward documenting impacts of the program and potentially leading to changes.

EVACUATIONS IN SANTA YSABEL DUE TO BRUSH FIRE

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

Photo by Jonna Waite, viewed from west Pine Hills

Update July 5, 2021: The #YsabelFire is 90% contained; firefighters have held it to 173 acres.

Update 7:05 p.m. Fire remains 173 acres and is now 17% contained. All Evacuation Orders and Warnings have been lifted. Road closures lifted; Highway 79 remains open for one-way traffic.

Update 4:45 p.m. -- The fire is now 173 acres and 0% contained, but the spread has slowed, per Cal Fire.  A temporary evacuation point has been established at Lake Henshaw.

July 3, 2021 (San Diego's East County) – The CHP website reports that a county trash truck rear-ended a motorhome, sparking a fire that ignited vegetation on Highway 79 north of Highway 78 in Santa Ysabel. (screenshot, right).

The brush fire is over 10 acres and is now threatening homes.

Photo, left: Burned RV, via Cal Fire

CDFW INITIATES MASSIVE WILDFIRE PROTECTION EFFORT AT WILDLIFE AREAS, ECOLOGICAL RESERVES STATEWIDE

Source:  California Department of Fish and Wildife

CDFW photo:  heavy equipment is deployed to create fire breaks on CDFW wildlife areas in Merced County.

July 1, 2021 (San Diego) - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has undertaken the largest wildfire protection and resiliency effort in its history, working to safeguard nearly all of its wildlife areas, ecological reserves and the surrounding communities from wildfire ahead of peak wildfire season this summer and fall.

PALA CASINO SPA RESORT COMMENDS LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS BATTLING MESA FIRE, PROVIDED ACCOMMODATIONS AND SUPPORT TO FIRE AGENCIES

Source: Pala Casino Spa Resort

June 28, 2021 (Pala) -- Pala Casino Spa Resort commends the local agencies battling the Mesa Fire that broke out along State Route 76 near Pala Casino this week. Pala Casino has worked closely with Riverside County Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Scoville and CAL FIRE Captain Wes Handy to provide support for the agencies.

MESA FIRE THREATENS HOMES NEAR PALA CASINO

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Update 10:30 p.m.:  CALFIRE San Diego officials have lifted the evacuation warning for the Mesa Fire and closed temporary evacuation points. State Route 76 is open in both directions. Motorists are reminded to drive with caution due to emergency vehicles which will remain in the area overnight. Fire officials estimate the fire at 350 acres with zero percent containment.

June 23, 2021 (Pala) – A fast-moving brush fire named the #MesaFire has scorched 260 acres and is zero percent contained, per Cal Fire/San Diego County Fire.  State Route 76 is shut down from Horse Creek Ranch to Pala Casino due to the fire which began off highway 76 and Cousier Canyon.

An evacuation warning is in place for those who live near Pala Casino, according to the San Diego sheriff.  The warning is voluntary but be ready to leave when advised to do so.

Temporary evacuation points have been established at Valley Center High School, 31322 Cole Grade Road in Valley Center and at the park and ride at the junction of I-15 and highway 76. (An earlier temporary evacuation location at Pauma Casino is no longer in effect.)

A smoke advisory has been issued.  Smoke impacts are likely in areas near and to the east and northeast of the fire, where fine particulates, or PM2.5 concentrations, may reach unhealthful levels. Winds are expected to remain from the same general direction through Thursday.

FAST-MOVING OVERLAND FIRE BURNING EAST OF MOUNT LAGUNA

Update June 20, 2021 11 a.m. -- The fire is holding at 343 acres and remains 5% contained, Cal Fire reports this morning.

Update 8 p.m.  --  Cal Fire tweet:  #OverlandFire off of Canebrake Canyon Road and Great Southern Overland Stage Route , East of Mount Laguna in San Diego County is 343 acres and 5% contained. Change in acreage due to better mapping. @CALFIRESANDIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – A brush fire burning near Canebrake along the Great Southern Overland trail has scorched 500 acres and is zero percent contained as of early this afternoon, Cal Fire reports. The #OverlandFire is east of Mount Laguna in the Anza-Borrego Desert.

No evacuations have been ordered as of 1:30 p.m. The fire is in a remote location and is not currently threatening any structures. However, a Cal Fire spokesman on Twitter indicated access for ground crews is difficult due to rugged terrain, requiring additional air resources that are now on scene.

Several Canebrake residents contacted ECM to clarify that the fire is not burning within the community of Canebrake, but to the west.

FLYING DRONES NEAR WILDFIRES IS ILLEGAL AND DANGEROUS

 

Source: Cal Fire and San Diego Sheriff

June 18, 2021 (San Diego) -- As we enter our summer fire season, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) are reminding the public, it is against the law to fly a drone near or over a wildfire. Firefighting aircraft could be grounded, disrupting critical fire operations. Time is of the essence. 

Click on the video to watch.

EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING NEXT WEEK, HIGH FIRE DANGER: COUNTY TO OPEN COOL ZONES

Update: Borrego Springs Branch Library is a cool zone, open starting Monday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
June 11, 2021 (San Diego) – The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning starting Monday, June 14 through Thursday, June 17 across Southern California. Breezes along with dry conditions will lead to elevated fire weather conditions each afternoon. 
 
Potential record-breaking temperatures are forecast, with low deserts reaching 115 to 120 degrees and high deserts 110 to 112 degrees. San Diego County’s valleys could reach up to 101 degrees, mountains up to 95 degrees, and beaches up to 84 degrees.
 
Soaring temperatures mean increased risk of heat-related illnesses, particularly for those involved in outdoor activities and vulnerable individuals. 

SMALL VEGETATION FIRE IN RANCHITA, NAMED MONTEZUMA FIRE, CONTAINED BY CAL-FIRE IN ROUGHLY AN HOUR

UPDATE: @Lambo_Gambo reported the "forward rate of spread has been stopped and fire is contained at 3 acres," around 5:30 p.m. 

By Jonathan Goetz

June 1, 2021 (Ranchita) - Wildfire watch cameras detected a possible wildfire roughly an hour ago, around 4:30 p.m., reported @huntefire and Cal-Fire was immediately dispatched. It turned out to be a small vegetation fire and was named the "Montezuma Fire."

@CALFIRESANDIEGO reported being on the scene at Montezuma Valley Road in Warner Springs, while @SDCountyFires reported it started in the 27900 block of Old Mine Road in Ranchita.

No structures are threatened, reported @SDCountyFires, adding, "SDSO reporting no winds in the area and that the fire is spreading south."

THE AIR SAFETY CRISIS FROM CORONAVIRUS AND TOXIC WILDFIRES PARTICLES

HEPA filters and high-fit/high filtration masks provide dual benefits

By Devabhaktuni Srikrishna

May 26, 2021 (San Diego) -- In 2020, wildfires accounted for as much as half the fine particulate air pollution (PM 2.5) on the west coast and fire season is expected to be even more severe in 2021. While all smoke inhalation is bad, wildfire smoke is particularly dangerous due to the combination of chemicals it contains, including toxic gases and particulate matter from trees, homes, vehicles and industrial facilities. Recent research suggests risks from wildfire-specific PM 2.5 on respiratory health may be much worse than from other sources.

2021 SDG&E WILDFIRE RESILIENCE DRIVE-THRU SAFETY FAIRS IN JULIAN, RAMONA, VALLEY CENTER AND ALPINE

Source: SDG&E
 
May 23, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- Fire season is around the corner and SDG&E wants you and your loved ones to remain safe. Learn what you can do to protect your family and property, as well as gain first-hand safety tips from SDG&E and their regional partners. You'll receive information about stocking an emergency kit, developing an emergency plan, designing or modifying the space around your home to resist wildfire and more.
 
Due to continued COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, this years' Wildfire Safety Fairs will continue to be drive-thru events that provide preparedness information to some communities most at risk of wildfires. SDG&E is asking participants to please wear protective face coverings or masks to these events. 

BIG RIG IN FLAMES DAMAGES BRIDGE, SHUTS DOWN I-8 NEAR PINE VALLEY CHECKPOINT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via The Mountain Community on Facebook, posted by Laura Palmer Vikara

Update May 13, 2021 -- The California Highway Patrol reports that the  driver was trapped in the vehicle and died. The body of a second male victim as found later in the afternoon. Both of their identities are unknown. Around 7:48 p.m. the driver hauling a semi-trailer (big rig) lost control and struck the center divider, hit a bridge rail and rolled down an embankment off I-8 east of Sunrise Highway, where the truck became engulfed in flames. CHP, Border Patrol and Cal Fire arrived shortly after the crash. It is unknown what caused the accident and whether the victims wore seatbelts. CHP asks anyone who witnessed this crash to call the CHP in El Cajon at (619)401-2000.

 

May 12, 2021 (Pine Valley) – Westbound Interstate 8 is shutdown from Buckman Springs Road to Sunrise Highway due to a big rig truck that caught fire, crashed and damaged a bridge. Traffic is being diverted onto Old Highway 80.

According to the CHP Incidents page, the accident occurred near the Border Patrol Checkpoint, which is three miles east of Pine Valley.  Damage to 30 feet of metal and concrete on the bridge is reported.

EVACUATION ADVISORY LIFTED FOR COCHES FIRE

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo, left, taken by John Margolin from his home near the #CochesFire.

Update 5:35 p.m.:  The evacuation advisory has been lifted and the evacuation center at W.D. Hall Elementary has been closed.

Update 5:10 p.m.:  Cal Fire reports the fire's forward spread has been stopped at 30 acres; it is 5 percent contained. No structures have been damaged or destroyed.

 

May 12, 2021 (Lakeside) – The #CochesFire that started  along I-8 east, south of Los Coches Road in Lakeside, has grown to 30 acres.  Evacuation warnings have been issued for the area and anyone wishing to evacuate can go to WD Hall Elementary School at 1376 Pepper Drive in El Cajon.  There are no mandatory evacuation orders as of 4:40 p.m.

The fire is burning at a moderate rate of spread and moving toward the Walmart and Valleyview Truck Trail.  Air tankers, helicopters and multiple fire engine are battling the blaze.

The right lane of I-8 is blocked by the brush fire and traffic is backed up to state route 67/Magnolia exit. Expect delays of up to a half hour, KUSI reports.

FIRE ON I-8 NEAR LAKESIDE

UPDATE 5:39 P.M.:  The Evacuation Warning for the Coches Fire has beeen lifted. The Temporary Evacuation Point at W.D. Hall Elementary School is being closed.

UPDATE 4:59 P.M.:  Fire remains at 30 acres, 5% contained.  No structures damaged or destroyed.

4:35 P.M.:  Fire is 30 acres spreading east along I-8 towards Los Coches Road.  Evacuation warnings:  anyone wishing to evacuate can go to WD Hall Elementary.  No evacuation orders at this time.

4:32 P.M.:  Fire is 25 acres spreading east along I-8 towards Los Coches Road.  Evacuation warning for WD Hall Elementary.  No evacuation orders at this time.

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

May 12, 2021 (Lakeside) -- Cal Fire is at the scene with cooperators of a vegetation fire along I-8, west of Los Coches Road in the Lakeside area. Four acres, moderate rate of spread. The right lane is closed on eastbound I-8 east of Greenfield.

To receive free East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts via email, sign up at the top right side of our homepage.  You can also follow EastCountyAlert on Twitter for brief text messages on your mobile phone. We thank the Grossmont Healthcare District for their sponsorship of our alerts.

FUNDRAISERS PLANNED TO HELP VALENZUELA FAMLY THAT LOST HOME IN SOUTHERN FIRE

East County News Service

May 7, 2021 (San Diego's East County) - The Southern Fire burned some 5200 acres May 1st through 3rd, forcing evacuations and destroying three structures, including Eduardo (Eddie) and Priscilla Valenzuela’s ranch home near Butterfield Ranch

FIRES BROKE OUT IN SANTEE ON CINCO DE MAYO

Photos and story by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Pictured Santee Fire Department's Deputy Fire Chief Justin Matsushita) 

May 5, 2021 (Santee) Two fires broke out in Santee today, the afternoon of Cinco de Mayo. Santee Fire Department’s  Deputy Fire Chief Justin Matsushita (photo), interviewed near the corners of Meadow Way and Riverview Parkway near the San Diego River, said his department got a call on the riverbed fire at 1:10 p.m. and had the fire extinguished in 45 minutes.

2 New Fires in Mexico, South of Dulzura, in/near Cottonwood Creek

 
 
By Jonathan Goetz; photos by Henri Migala
 
May 2, 2021 (Dulzura) -- Two new small fires are burning in/near Cottonwood Creek in Mexico, south of Dulzura.
 
Calfire, Border Patrol, and ECM reporter Henri Migala are at the scene on the U.S. side of border monitoring the situation.
 
There are no immediate threat to structures as of 4:30 p.m.
 
Gusty winds are blowing East by Northeast 70 degrees, with the fires heading slowly towards Tecate Peak.
 
 
Update: ECM reporter Henri Migala sent additiional information later via e-mail:

SOUTHERN FIRE, EAST OF JULIAN, FORCES EVACUATIONS

 

Update May 3, 2021 7 p.m. All evacuation orders, evacuation warnings, and road closures related to the Southern Fire have been lifted.

Update May 2, 2021 5:50 p.m.  The American Red Cross is providing hotel rooms for persons evacuated from the Southern Fire.  The hotel rooms are located in El Centro, CA.  If you are in need of a hotel room due to being evacuated, contact the American Red Cross at (571) 595-7910.

Update May 2, 2021 3:34 p.m.  The #SouthernFire has swelled to 5,184 acres per Cal Fire. Firefighters are making good progress and the blaze is now 25% contained.

Update May 2, 2021 2 p.m. p.m.  County Fire reports that  aircraft and Copter 129 are on scene; a helitanker and a second copter are en route. Tankers are unable to drop due to the wind. Fire is burning southwest of the Butterfield community. The County has issued a smoke advisory, noting that smoke is blowing southeast of the fire, into Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Update May 2, 2021 8:45 a..m.  The Southern Fire is apprxoimately 2900 acres and 0% contained, per Cal Fire San Diego Overnight, strong winds of 40-60 mph were observed; firefighers continue working to build a containment line. Animals evacuated can be sheltered at Vallecito County Park, 37349 Great Southern Overland Stage Route.  

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo via SDG&E webcam

May 1, 2021 (Shelter Valley) -- A fire near Agua Caliente State Park, the "Southern Fire" in the community of Mason Valley, has burned 1,200 acres in two hours late today. (Note, an earlier version of this article stated the fire was in the vicinity of Shelter Valley, based on incorrection information from the County Office of Emergency Services)

Cal Fire reports that three structures have been destroyed. Around 500 people have been evacuated from Butterfield Ranch Campground.

An evacuation center has been set up at Agua Caliente County Park at 39555 Great Southern Overland Stage Route, Julian, CA 92036.

So Cal Air Ops reports that tankers were dispatched but are unable to drop fire retardant due to strong winds.

Parts of Great Overland Stage Route (S-2) may be closed in both directions.  State Parks is manning a hard closure of S-2 at mile marker 30.
 
If you are asked to evacuate by fire or law enforcement, please do so immediately. Part of the fire was burning down a hill, misleadingly reducing the amount of smoke.

CHIEF’S CORNER: NATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY 911 DISPATCHERS WEEK

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
April 13, 2021 (San Diego) -- The National Public Safety Dispatchers Week is celebrated every second week of April each year. This week April 11-17, 2021 aims to honor all 911 Fire/Police/Paramedic Dispatchers & Staff whose work is involved in public safety communication. This weeklong event gives recognition and expresses gratitude to all those people dedicated to saving the lives of the people.
 
Understanding the Job of a 911 Dispatcher
Most of the time, people have no idea how hard the job of emergency communicators is. They carry a great responsibility because they are the first line of hope or defense for those people in need. They are the first ones to get in contact with people who are in danger. If you still have not fully realized that yet, then it is all the more reason for you to celebrate this week.

AIRCRAFT DISPATCHED AFTER CONTROLLED BURN AT CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK REPORTEDLY JUMPS CONTAINMENT LINE

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo via SDG&E webcam

April 12, 2021 (Cuyamaca) – A controlled burn has reportedly jumped a containment line  near Pasa Picacho Campground in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, scanner traffic and multiple sources indicate. The blaze, now dubbed the #PasoFire, has burned 15-20 acres outside the ontrol line and is fueled by a westerly wind.

Multiple air tankers and helicopters have been requested and at least two aircraft are on scene as of 4:50 p.m.

GOVERNOR NEWSOM, LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ANNOUNCE EARLY BUDGET ACTION FOR WILDFIRE PREVENTION

Source: Governor’s Office
 
April 8, 2021 (Sacramento) -- Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) today announced a $536 million funding plan to help improve California’s resilience to wildfires. They released the following statement:

FIREFIGHTERS CONTAIN AUTO WRECKING YARD FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

(Photo courtesy of San Miguel Fire District) 

April 3, 2021 (Spring Valley ) --  Crews from San Miguel Fire Department, Heartland Fire and San Diego Fire & Rescue successfully controlled a fast moving commercial fire on Jamacha Road in Spring Valley on Thursday.

According to Heartland Fire in a post on Instragram, Initial arriving units encountered heavy fire and smoke from behind an auto wrecking and recycling facility. The smoke column was pushed by a strong west wind which produced an immediate threat to exposures including businesses and an apartment complex.

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