Wildfire News

LAKESIDE FIRE BOARD CANDIDATES RESPOND TO QUESTIONS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2018 (Lakeside) – Five candidates are running for the Lakeside Fire Protection District Board.  Three are incumbents:   Robert Robeson, a retired Cal Fire assistant chief, Mike Haworth, a retired fire division chief, Peter Liebig, a retired firefighter/paramedic. Two are challengers:  fire captain Tim Robles and volunteer emergency responder Ron Kasper.

East County Magazine sent questionnaires to all five, and three responded (Robeson, Haworth and Kasper).   Below are their responses (published in the order received), plus links to their ballot statements.

SDG&E’S FIREFIGHTING AIR-CRANE NOW STATIONED IN EAST COUNTY YEAR-ROUND

 

Utility also announces it has begun installing portable generators to minimize planned power outages in critical wildfire areas and will open Community Resource Centers during fire events.

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

September 14, 2018 (El Cajon) - With the threat of wildfires now constant rather than a fall season rite of passage, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) held a press conference last week to showcase its innovative firefighting “Air-Crane” at a Gillespie Field hangar.

ALPINE FOUNDATION HELPFUL TO FIRE SURVIVORS, OTHERS

 

By Jo Moreland, Alpine-Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce

September 13, 2018 (Alpine) - As a result of Alpine’s West Fire, a local organization to help provide tax-deductible donations for local causes is now a significant one for fire survivors. Thanks to generous people, businesses and organizations, donations for West Fire survivors are being made available for distribution through the Alpine Community Foundation.

LAFCO VOTES TO END JULIAN VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPT., INVITES TOWN TO SAVE IT

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted by Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Devi Ketelsen, 7, reads statement to LAFCO board while being held by mother Jamie. Photo by Ken Stone

September 11, 2018 (Julian) - The only way to save Julian’s last-in-the-county volunteer fire department is to order it destroyed, LAFCO board members declared Monday.

By a 7-0 vote, the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission accepted staff advice to dissolve the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District.

JULIAN RESIDENTS AGAINST COUNTY TAKEOVER OF FIRE SERVICES WIN VICTORY IN COURT, BUT SETBACK AT LAFCO HEARING

 

 

Battle to save the county's last volunteer fire district now hinges on a protest process that could give voters the final say

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery, Editor, also contributed to this report.
 

Photo:  Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber, Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District

September 11, 2018 (Julian) -- A group of Julian area residents fighting fire axes-and-hoses against a county takeover of fire and medical first responder services won a firm victory last Thursday in Superior Court. Judge Timothy Taylor ruled to allow a ballot measure to fund future operations for the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD).

Backers of the initiative hoped the ruling would curtail the County of San Diego’s efforts to terminate the JCFPD, the region’s last all-volunteer fire department, and shift fire and ambulance services to the County Fire Authority (CFA) in conjunction with Cal Fire.

But despite Judge Taylor’s ruling, yesterday the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) voted 7-0 to dissolve the district. Residents could still block the takeover through a protest process that’s now been triggered.  Determined opponents of the takeover are gearing up for the fight, arguing that eliminating volunteer firefighters who live in the community will make the area less safe, not safer has had been promised by the CFA.

WILDLAND URBAN INTERFACE WORKSHOP OFFERED ADVICE THAT COULD SAVE YOUR HOME AND YOUR LIFE

 

 

By Jan Hedlun

Photo by Miriam Raftery: 2007 Harris Fire

September 11, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) - Living in a rural backcountry is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is seeing an abundance of stars at night, wildlife, and the relative peace and quiet the city can't offer. The curse: some of that wildlife bites, and wildfires are a constant threat for most of the year.

LAKESIDE FIRE DISTRICT IS HIRING

 

Source: Lakeside Fire

September 7, 2018 (Lakeside) -- The Lakeside Fire District is hiring for both entry-level Firefighter-Paramedic and Reserve Firefighter. Check out this dramatic video (https://twitter.com/i/status/1038201517344468992) and visit http://lakesidefire.net  for more information.

Applications close on November 1, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

BILL ON GOVERNOR’S DESK COULD MAKE RATEPAYERS PAY FOR WILDFIRES CAUSED BY UTILITIES’ EQUIPMENT IN 2017 AND BEYOND

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 2, 2018 (Sacramento)—California ratepayers could be forced to pay for costs of the 2017 wildfires and some future firestorms caused by utilities’ equipment, if Senate Bill 901 currently on the Governor’s desk is signed into law. Consumers who wish to weigh in can call Governor Jerry Brown’s office at (916) 558-2840 or fax (916) 558-3160.

The language is in an omnibus bill that addresses many wildfire-related issues including wildfire prevention, response and recovery as well as funding for mutual aid, fuel reduction and forestry policies, wildfire mitigation plans by utilities and cost recovery by electricity utility corporations for wildfire-related damages.

All of East County’s legislators voted for the bill including Republicans Randy Voepel and Joel Anderson as well as Democrats Ben Hueso and Shirley Weber.

BENEFIT SEPT. 8 TO HELP MORE WEST FIRE SURVIVORS IN ALPINE

 

 

East County News Service 

August 31, 2018 (Alpine) -- The Alpine Fire Survivors Fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 8, in Alpine will provide entertainment while raising money for people who need help after the recent West Fire. A car show, Kids Zone activities, blues band Chet and the Committee, food for sale, an opportunity drawing, vendors and more are scheduled from 2 -7 p.m. at the American Legion Post at 3328 Alpine Blvd.  

COUNTY PARTNERS WITH LYFT TO DRIVE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

 

 

By County News Center, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  Sign up to receive free emergency information from AlertSanDiego as part of a preparedness promotion with Lyft and you may get a $10 discount on a ride.  Image via Pixabay

August 31, 2018 (San Diego) - San Diego County is vulnerable to many types of emergencies: fires, floods, and earthquakes just to name a few. These disasters can strike at any time, and we should all be prepared to keep ourselves, and our loved ones, safe. But a 2017 survey conducted by the County found only half of San Diego County residents are prepared to evacuate their homes within 15 minutes. Only 38 percent have an emergency plan.

FREE ONE-DAY, IN-DEPTH WILDFIRE SAFETY WORKSHOP OFFERED IN POTRERO

 

Learn what firefighters know about protecting homes and communities from wildfire

East County News Service

August 29, 2018 (Potrero) - The Fire Safe Council of San Diego County is taking fire safety training to local communities that are at high-risk for wildfires. Some of the most vulnerable areas are those in the Wildland Urban Interface, or WUI, which is defined as residential areas that abut to open space. The next workshop, called Fire Operations in the Wildland Urban Interface, will be in Potrero on Saturday, September 8, 2018.

HYDROGEN EXPLOSION IN EL CAJON

 

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

August 29, 2018 (El Cajon) -- A fire caused by ignition of hydrogen at a filling station where a hydrogen truck was refueling has prompted evacuation of schools and delays in trolley service in El Cajon.

Heartland Fire advises the public to avoid the 1100 block of W. Bradley (near Cuyamaca) until around 1 p.m. Cuyamaca is closed from Friendship Dr to Vernon Wy & W. Bradley is closed from Cuyamaca to Johnson Ave

Metropolitan Transit Services advises, "Sycuan Green Line trains are turning at Arnele Station & Orange Line trains are turning at El Cajon Transit Center. Expect delays."

HUNDREDS TURN OUT TO HELP FIRE SURVIVORS IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 19, 2018 (Alpine) – “Your life can change at the drop of dime,” Lisa Ford told a standing-room only crowd of more than 400 people packed the Alpine Community Center last night for a fundraiser to help survivors of the West Fire.

WEST FIRE RECOVERY EFFORTS PROGRESSING IN ALPINE

 

Fundraiser tonight

By Jo Moreland

August 18, 2018 (Alpine) -- Alpine has moved from emergency relief to recovery since the July 6 West Fire destroyed and damaged dozens of homes and other buildings.

That’s the assessment of authorities still working to help about 55 families displaced after flames blazed through the eastern edges of the foothills community of about 16,000 people.

CLOVERDALE FIRE WAS NOT ARSON, AUTHORITIES DETERMINE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo from San Diego Fire Dept.: Metro Arson Strike Team investigates fire scene.

August 14, 2018 (San Pasqual Valley) – The Metro Arson Strike team has reversed an earlier announcement and now believes yesterday's Cloverdale Fire in the San Pasqual Valley was not caused by arson, but instead by a rimless tire that threw off sparks, causing multilple ignition points, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

This is the third fire to occur in the San Pasqual area in the past couple of weeks, though authorities have not yet announced causes of the earlier San Pasqual and Rangeland fires, which burned 240 and 250 acres respectively.

The Cloverdale Fire, under unified command of Cal Fire and San Diego Fire Department, started mid-afternoon and quickly scorched 100 acres. Today it is 65% contained and evacuations have been lifted.

DEPUTIES SAVE SLEEPING FAMILY FROM BURNING HOME IN RAMONA

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 13, 2018 (Ramona) – A Sheriff’s Deputy in Ramona spotted a home in flames at 205 Sixth Street in Ramona before dawn on Friday and called for help. While firefighters were on the way, more deputies from the Ramona substation arrived and entered the residence. They found an elderly couple and other family members sleeping, then safely evacuated them all.

VEHICLES REMAIN A TOP CAUSE OF LOCAL WILDFIRES

 

August 12, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - Fire investigators recently announced that the cause of the deadly Carr fire in Redding was a flat tire on a trailer. When the rim scraped the concrete roadway, it sparked a fire.

RANGELAND FIRE IN RAMONA THREATENS STRUCTURES

 

 

 

Update 7:30 p.m: The Rangeland Fire is 250 acres and 60%  contained. A firefighter has suffered minor injuries. Units will remain on scene through tomorrow. SDG&E's air crane has been assisting in battling the blaze (photo).

August 9, 2018 (Ramona)-- The Rangeland Fire in Ramona has burned approxiamtely 150 acres near highway 78 and Rangeland Road. The blaze, which began mid-afternoon with structures threatened.

The fire is 30 percent contained and forward spead has been halted, Cal Fire reports.

36 FIRES BURNING STATEWIDE: EVACUATIONS IN ORANGE COUNTY; MENDOCINO COMPLEX FIRE NOW LARGEST IN CA HISTORY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Richard Edwords, an Alpine resident driving a water tender truck: at the Mendocino Complex Fire, where bulldozers  have been cutting fire breaks

Update: An earlier version of this article stated that the Mendocino Complex fire is the second largest in our state's history.  With more acreage burned tonight, it is now the largest.

August 6, 2018 (San Diego) – Across California, 36 wildfires are currently burning. View map and incident reports. Currently the only one in San Diego County, the #CasnerFire in Ramona, is 75% contained at 14 acres, with no structures lost.  A 1,000 brush fire on Camp Pendleton has been extinguished.  But elsewhere in the state, explosive fires are burning, claiming lives and property.

The #MendocinoComplexFire is now the second largest in California history, where 283,000 acres have burned after the Ranch and River fires joined forces, Reuters reports tonight.

Evacuations are ordered in Orange County, where the #HolyFire that started in Cleveland National Forest has scorched 1,200 acres, burning one structure and causing one injury, the Orange County Register reports tonight.

RED FLAG WARNING THROUGH TUESDAY: POTENTIAL FOR "EXTREME FIRE BEHAVIOR"

 

East County News Service

August 6, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a red flag alert in effect from 4 p.m. today through 9 p.m. Tuesday for all of San Diego County and much of Southern California. 

“.If fire ignition occurs, conditions are favorable   for very rapid fire spread including long range spotting, and  extreme fire behavior which would threaten life and property,” the NWS warns.

Those conditions include strong winds, dry fuels and hot, dry weather. Triple digit heat is forecast inland.

DAUGHTER OF BRUSH FIRE PARTYLINE ADMINISTRATOR NEEDS KIDNEY TRANSPLANT: DONOR AND FUNDING NEEDED

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 5, 2018 (Lakeside) – Deb Carney Carlson is an administrator for the Brush Fire Partyline, donating her time to post fire alerts to keep others safe. Now her daughter, Tara, is fighting for her life – and needs help from the public.

FAST-MOVING SAN PASQUAL FIRE IS BURNING SOUTHEAST, EVACUATIONS ORDERED

 

 

Update July 28, 2018:  The fire is now 365 acres and 40% contained, Cal Fire reports. 

Update 9 p.m.:  All evacuation warnings have been lifted for the area affected by the Pasqual Fire. All remaining evacuation orders are still in effect. Evacuees needing Red Cross assistance, call 858-309-1200, County Emergency Services reports.

Update 8 p.m.:  Forward spread of the fire has been stopped.  Repopulation plans for evacuees are now being discussed, per Cal Fire.

By Miriam Raftery

July 27, 2018 (San Pasqual) – The #SanPasqualFire has burned 240 aces in San Pasqual Valley and western Ramona and is currently 5% contained, according to Cal Fire’s incident page: http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents/incidentdetails/Index/2177 /.  The fire is burning in a southeast direction, prompting evacuations. Evacuees are advised to go to Ramona High School.

The blaze which started this afternoon along San Pasqual Valley Road has shut down highway 78 from Bandy Canyon to Haverford. Evacuations are ordered on Rangeland Rd, Oak Grove Rd, Highland Hills Dr, Horizon View, Rio Maggiore Dr, Cinque Terre Dr, Corniglia Dr, Via Cuesta, and Via Vista Grande.

BOULEVARD PLANNERS OPPOSE TORREY WIND PROPOSAL FOR TURBINES TALLER THAN DOWNTOWN SKYSCRAPERS PROPOSED IN RURAL COMMUNITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  Brush fire sparked by exploding wind turbine in Campo  in 2013.  Proposed new turbines would dwarf these older, smaller models.

July 26, 2018 (Boulevard) – The Boulevard Community Planning Group has sent a 26-page letter to the County opposing Terra-Gen’s proposed Torrey Wind project.  If approved, the project would erect 30 wind turbines each 586 feet tall—that’s 90 feet higher than the tallest skyscraper in downtown San Diego—on 2,,000 acres of absentee-owned ranchland formerly known as Big Country Ranch property at the north end of Ribbonwood Road.

The proposed major use permit for Torrey Wind (formerly known as San Diego Wind) will be on the Boulevard Planning Group’s agenda at its August 2nd meeting at 7 p.m.  (View agenda)

SHOULD STATE APPROVE “BAIL OUT” BILLS TO EASE UTILITIES’ LIABILITY FOR WILDFIRES?

 

 

Companies say measures are needed to prevent bankruptcies, but Ramona group says the bills would increase risks of wildfires by axing incentives for utilities to improve safety

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 26, 2018 (Ramona) – Utilities are lobbying legislators to approve a pair of bills being pushed by Governor Jerry Brown in the wake of catastrophic fire storms  in Northern California linked to utility-owned lines and equipment.  Facing $10 billion in damages with reportedly only about $800,000 in insurance, PG&E has argued it could be pushed into bankruptcy without relief.  The utilities want to change California’s inverse condemnation laws, which hold utilities responsible for any fires caused by their lines. However, if a company is found to have safely operated its equipment, it can ask the California Public Utilities Commission to approve charging ratepayers for uninsured losses.

 

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) tried that approach, but the CPUC refused to approve charging ratepayers for the company’s liabilities in the 2007 firestorms, finding that SDG&E did not follow all required safety procedures. Now the big utility companies want to eliminate inverse condemnation in relation to wildfires--a proposal that has backcountry residents sounding the alarm.

ARSONIST ARRESTED FOR SETTING CRANSTON FIRE THREATENING IDYLLWILD AND OTHER MOUNTAIN TOWNS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: San Bernadino National Forest Service

July 26, 2018 (San Bernadino) – Brandon McGlover of Temecula has been arrested and charged with intentionally setting multiple fires in Riverside County including the raging #CranstonFire, Cal Fire reports. The wildland forest fire burning in San Bernadino National Forest has scorched over7,500 acres and is 5% contained, according to Cal Fire’s incident page.

Thousands have been forced to flee, with over 2,000 homes threatened and mandatory evacuations ordered for the entire towns of Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Fern Valley, Apple Canyon Garner Valley and other communities.

VOLCAN MOUNTAIN PLANE CRASH VICTIMS IDENTIFIED

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo of crash site, courtesy ECM news patner 10 news

July 25, 2018 (Julian) – Three people who died in a May 10th crash of a flight school-owned plane at Volcan Mountain in Julian which sparked a brush fire have been identified by the County Medical Examiner’s office.

 The victims were Rongwei Zhang, 23, Qinyang Zuo, 28, and Zehe Zhang, 24.  All died of blunt force injuries and multiple thermal injuries; all deaths were ruled accidental and toxicology reports found no contributing factors.

FIRE DESTROYS HISTORIC HOME, A FORMER STAGECOACH STOP, IN RAMONA

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECM News partner 10 News

July 21, 2018 (Ramona) – The Cinnamon Fire that scorched 13 acres in the Witch Creek area yesterday destroyed Ramona’s original stagecoach stop built in 1870, also resulting in efforts that saved the family's dogs. Other dogs in a boarding kennel on the property are also safe.

“We lived there for 12 years until we built a new house,” the owner of Kritter Camp Boarding Kennel, located on Creek Hollow Drive in Ramona, told East County Magazine regarding the historic structure. At the time of the fire, she added, “My daughter and her boyfriend lived there.”

IN EMERGENCY APPEAL, JULIAN FIREFIGHTERS ASK STATE COURT TO HALT COUNTY TAKEOVER

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, amember of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Suspended Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber of Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. Image via Julian Fire Plugs

July 19, 2018 (Julian) - Julian’s volunteer firefighters have filed an emergency appeal with a state appellate court in hopes of making an August 10 deadline to place a measure on the November ballot.

Their aim is to have the 2,246 voters in the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District decide whether to repeal a fire board action to dissolve the district.

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