Wildfire News

AUTHORITIES IDENTITY WOMAN WHO DIED IN RAMONA FIRE

East County News Service

Photo via Cal Fire Twitter feed

November 27, 2021 (Ramona) – The medical examiner has identified the woman found dead after a fire at her home as Deborah Ann Hester, 61.

Based on preliminary law enforcement investigation, on the early morning hours of November 15th, Hester called 9-1-1 and requested emergency assistance due to a fire at her residence. San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at the decedent’s residence at 566 Telford Lane in Ramona and heard her screaming for help.


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BRUSH FIRE IN SANTEE SPARKS EVACUATIONS; HOMES THREATENED

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

November 25, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – The #Magnolia Fire in Santee at Walker Preserve , 9500 N. Magnolia AVe., has burned 10 acres and has prompted evacuation notices, according to ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis-Wiliamson.

The fire is spreading at a moderate rate, fueled by windy weather.

An evacuation warning has been issued to homes around Hill Creek School near Ramsgate Drive & Hillcreek Road. The Sheriff reports a temporary evacuation point is at Pathways Church (9638 Carlton Hills Blvd.)


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POWER OUTAGES BEGIN: THOUSANDS WITHOUT ELECTRICITY ON THANKSGIVING

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 25, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has shut off power to 5,311 customers as of 10 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.  Another 47,934 are at risk of outages amid a red flag warning for extreme fire danger and high winds. 

So far, these are the communities without power:  Alpine, Boulevard, Descanso, Jamul, Pala, Pauma Valley, and Potrero as well as the Campo, Cuyapaipe, La Jolla, Pauma, and Viejas reservations.Many more areas are on a list of potential outages to come.

View an outage map and click on your community for estimated power restoration times:  https://www.sdge.com/residential/customer-service/outage-center/outage-map   Some areas are listed as likely to be without power until Saturday.

SDG&E has opened several community resource centers where residents can get water, ice, snacks, and preparedness supplies, car power inverters, solar-powered batteries, radios, and update on outages.  View map at https://www.sdge.com/resource-centers.


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RED FLAG WARNING: EXTREME FIRE RISK TONIGHT AND TOMORROW; SDG&E EXPANDS LIST OF POTENTIAL POWER OUTAGE AREAS

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

November 24, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning from tonight at 9 pm to Friday at 6 pm. due to risk of extreme fire behavior, threatening life and property.

Be prepared to evacuate if needed. Strongest winds are expected tonight into tomorrow morning with gusts up to 65 mph.

SDG&E has broadened its list of possible power shut-offs to include over 53,000 customers across most of East County and other areas. For the latest list of impacted areas see https://www.sdge.com/psps-dashboard.  As of 6 p.m. tonight, the list includes:


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SDG&E WARNS OF POWER SHUTOFFS OVER THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY DUE TO FIRE DANGER: OUTAGES COULD LAST DAYS

Update November 24, 2021:  SDG&E has widened its list of possible outage areas to include more than 53,000 customers. See the updated list of impacted communities here:  https://www.sdge.com/psps-dashboard

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- Before you stock up on turkey and other groceries for a feast, be aware that San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is asking customers in 38 local communities to prepare for potential Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) over the Thanksgiving holiday.


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SANTA ANA WINDS BRING FIRE DANGER

By Miriam Raftery

November 20, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Santa Ana winds are forecast starting tonight, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour in canyons and mountain passes.  With warm temperatures and humidity dropping as low as 7 percent, fire danger will be high on Sunday and Monday.

Despite a chance of showers Tuesday, a new round of Santa Ana winds is predicted late Wednesday and Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, according to the National Weather Service.


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CAL FIRE LIFTS BURN PERMIT SUSPENSION IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

Source: Cal Fire

Photo: CC via Bing

November 6, 2021 (San Diego) -- Effective Monday November 8th at 8 a.m., the burn permit suspension in San Diego County will be lifted. Cal Fire/San Diego County Fire Chief Tony Mecham is formally canceling the burn permit suspension and advises that those possessing current and valid agricultural and residential burn permits can now resume burning on permissible burn days from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.


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TWO DEAD, OTHERS INJURED AFTER PLANE CRASHES INTO SANTEE NEIGHBORHOOD

By Tom and Nadin Abbott

October 11, 2021 (Santee) The call came in at approximately 12:15 p.m. to the Heartland Dispatch center. A small plane had gone down in a residential neighborhood of Santee, initally reported at 9915 N. Magnolia Ave . The plane, later identified as a Cessna 340 twin engine six-seater by the Federal Aviation Administration, crashed into at least one house that was destroyed by the impact, which was actually on the corner of Green Castle and Jeremy. Neighboring homes also suffered damage from the flames.

Two people were confirmed killed on scene and two transported to the hospital, according to Santee Assistant Chief Justin Matsushita. The injured were in the first house hit. Their condition is unknown, but they were conscious when transported.


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PLANE CRASHES NEAR SANTANA HIGH FOOTBALL FIELD, IGNITES HOMES IN SANTEE

 

Bystander recounts efforts to help rescue survivors from burning home

By Miriam Raftery and Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson

Nadin and Tom Abbott also contributed to this report.

Photo, left: Screenshot off video by ECM news partner 10 News

October 11, 2021 (Santee) – A plane has crashed near Santana High School close to the intersection of Greencastle and Jeremy, setting homes nearby on fire.

Two fatalities are confirmed and two others have been transported to a hospital with injuries. 

A temporary evacuation point has been set up at the Cameron Family YMCA at 10123 Riverwalk Drive, Santee, for families displaced by the crash.

Santana High tweeted that all students are safe and a secure campus order has been lifted.Students are being allowed to leave if they have no afternoon classes.

An ECM reporter witnessed body parts on roofs and scattered across the neighborhood, adding to the trauma facing residents.

Stephanie Diaz, another neighbor, says the crash occurred at 12:12. "It was just like in the movies," she said of the sound, adding that the whole house shook. 

David Witthoft said he used to work on military jets as a mechanic. He said he was in the house when "I heard the pilot go full throttle, and then I heard it hit the ground" with a loud boom. His house filled with smoke and the stench of burning debris, he added.

Numerous homes in the area suffered damage ranging from blown-out windows to cracked solar panels, in addition to two homes destroyed by fire.

Hillcreek Elementary also alerted parents/ guardians that they were "safe and sound."

San Diego Sheriff asks that the public avoid the area. A Hazmat team has been dispatched.

There are reports of a box truck also damaged by the crash.


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HIGH WIND WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES TODAY

East County News Service

October 11, 2021 (San Diego) – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning from 11 a.m. today to 3 a.m. Tuesday. Gusts up to 65 miles per hour are forecast in mountain areas including Julian and Pine Valley, with west to northwest winds of 30-40 mph. Gusts up to 45 mph are possible in San Diego County’s deserts, valleys and coastal areas, where a wind advisory is in effect.

These damaging winds can blow down trees and power lines, so power outages are possible.

Secure outdoor objects which may become projectiles in high winds, and close patio umbrellas.


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JUDGE BLOCKS OTAY RANCH DEVELOPMENT, ORDERS COUNTY TO REVERSE APPROVAL DUE TO WILDFIRE DANGERS

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

October 7, 2021 (Proctor Valley) – A San Diego Superior Court judge today ordered the County of San Diego to vacate its 2019 approval of portions of the Otay Ranch Village 14 and Planning Areas 16/19 in Proctor Valley south of Jamul near Chula Vista, due to the danger of wildfires in an area that has already had many severe fires.

Judge Richard S. Whitney found that the County’s environmental impact report failed to assess the increase wildfire risk, nor offer any mitigation to reduce those increased risks if the controversial master-planned community were built. 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta intervened on behalf of the people of California to support a lawsuit filed by environmental groups challenging the project.  Bonta praised the decision, stating, “Today’s ruling by the Superior Court affirms a critical fact: Local governments have a responsibility to address wildfire risks associated with development projects at the front end. Doing so will save dollars—and lives—down the line.”


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FIREFIGHTERS MAKE PROGRESS ON MASSIVE FIRES STATEWIDE

East County News Service

September 30, 2021 (Sacramento) -- Over 10,400 firefighters are on the front lines battling 11 major wildfires burning across the state, making headway on many of the most devastating blazes, Cal Fire reported over the weekend. Get the latest fire updates in California at https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents.


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SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK WRAPS GIANT TREES, STRUCTURES IN FOIL AS FLAMES APPROACH

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2021 (Sequoia National Park) – Two wildfires, the Colony and Paradise fires, have merged into one dubbed the KNP Complex Fire. Estimated at 18,000 acres, the blaze has been burning for a week inside Sequoia National Park and has now reached the edge of a historic grove of ancient giant redwoods. 


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CAL FIRE HELICOPTER SERVING BACKCOUNTRY IS FIRST IN STATE TO ADD ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT

By Miriam Raftery

September 6, 2021 (El Cajon) – Effective today, Cal Fire’s hoist rescue helicopter team based in El Cajon has upgraded to an Advanced Life Support (ALS) rescue aircraft.  A Cal-Fire press release states, “This additional capability will allow for simultaneous rescue and ALS care, therefore greatly improving survivability of critical illness. We are very proud San Diego is the first Unit to provide ALS level care on a helicopter in CAL FIRE. We are excited and proud to provide ALS care to those who will need it throughout our County’s backcountry.”

Six firefighter/paramedics & engineer/paramedics had to complete basic helicopter operations and safety training. Cal Fire’s aviation/helicopter program is a joint effort with San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.


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SUPERVISORS APPROVE PUBLIC POWER SAFETY SHUTOFF MITIGATION MEASURES

By Miriam Raftery

Image: Powerlines, creative commons image via Bing

September 6, 2021 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Supervisors held a hearing on August 31st on public safety power shutoffs. Chairman Nathan Fletcher emphasized the importance of this “timely issue” in light of wildfire concerns.


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VEGETATION FIRE IN RAINBOW

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Update Sept. 6, 2021 9:45 a.m.  All evacuation orders have been lifted; the fire is 30% contained this morning.

Update Sept. 5, 2021 9:40 p.m.  Forward spread has been stopped; the #ArubaFire is 15% contained, Cal Fire posted on Twitter with this video: https://twitter.com/i/status/1434722088250589189

September 5, 2021 (Rainbow) -- Cal Fire and cooperators are at the scene of a vegetation fire, southeast of the community of Rainbow in northeast San DIego County. The fire is approximately 40-50 acres with a moderate rate of spread. 

Evacuation orders are now in effect for areas in the community.  A temporary evacuation point has been set up at Vallecitos Elementary School.


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HOW SD RESIDENTS CAN PROTECT THEIR HOMES THIS WILDFIRE SEASON

By Andy Nelson, Owner of Willis Allen Real Estate

September 2, 2021 (San Diego) - For most California residents, the thought of summer conjures many timeless images and traditions: backyard barbecues, warm weather, vacations, and children being out of school- to name a few. Increasingly, however, another image is becoming synonymous with California summers: wildfires.


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CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST CLOSED DUE TO FIRE DANGER

East County News Service

August 31, 2021 (Descanso) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced temporary closure through September 17 at noon of national forests across California, including Cleveland National Forest in San Diego County.  The aim is to protect the safety of firefighters and the public during high fire danger conditions, with wildfires raging across much of the state. Locally, the closure includes popular hiking trails such as Cedar Creek Falls and Three Sisters Falls as well as the Hauser and Pine Creek wilderness areas and more.


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CHAPARRAL FIRE IN DE LUZ/LA CRESTA 1,200 ACRES 0% CONTAINED



 

CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department
@CALFIRERRU
****Effective immediately, for all future updates on acreage, containment and Evacuation Orders and Warnings, go to -
@CALFIRESANDIEGO
*****
Update August 29, 2021 9 a.m.:  The #ChaparralFire hsa grown to 1,450 acres and is 10% contained.  A firefighter was injured and two structures have burned.

CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department reports:

#ChaparralFire Evening Update 8/28/22 9:10 PM - Fire remains 1,200 acres and 0% contained. All Evacuation ORDERS:WARNINGS remain in place overnight & until further notice. Final update tonight unless significant activity occurs.

By Jonathan Goetz
 
Photo: SDG&E via ECM News Partner 10 News
 
Saturday, August 28 (San Diego/Riverside) - A fire that started around this afternoon near Cleveland Forest Road and Tenaja Road southwest of Murrieta in San Diego County [33.484721, -117.39309] has burned 1,200 acres and is 0% contained, according to a Cal Fire Incidents report posted 6:23 p.m. Saturday, on the State of California's website.

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SD EMERGENCY APP USERS NOW HAVE EARTHQUAKE EARLY WARNING

 

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Video by José Eli Villanueva

August 25, 2021 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego’s SD Emergency app is now equipped with ShakeReadySD, an earthquake early warning system. This will let users know if an earthquake has occurred nearby that is likely to cause shaking within seconds and it will urge them to take protective action such as drop, cover and hold on or another appropriate safety measure.


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FIRE WEATHER THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

August 24, 2021 (San Diego) – A rapid warming trend is forecast to bring elevated fire weather conditions Wednesday through Saturday. The National Weather Service warns, “Wildfires could spread rapidly with high heat and low humidity. Diurnal winds in the afternoon present the highest threat.” Dry fuels add to the danger.


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CAL OES APPROVES OVER $21,600 IN REIMBURSEMENTS TO SAN DIEGO COUNTY FOR COSTS OF VALLEY FIRE

East County News Service

Photo by Barry Jantz

August 20, 2021 (Jamul) -- The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) today announced the approval of $21,652 in reimbursements to help the County of San Diego cover the costs of operating a Local Assistance Center (LAC), as well as the removal and replacement of five road signs following last year's Valley Fire. The fire started in the Japatul area near Alpine and burned 20 residential structures as far south as Jamul. 

 The reimbursements represent the state's 75-percent share of the county's $28,870 in costs related to the work that are eligible under the California Disaster Assistance Act following California Governor Gavin Newsom's State of Emergency Proclamation on September 26, 2020.


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CAL FIRE BATTLES MAJOR FIRES STATEWIDE

 

East County News Service

Video by Richard Edwords, Alpine resident and owner of Camp’s Propane, who is driving a water tender truck in the Dixie Fire

August 20, 2021 (Sacramento) -- Today more than 12,460 firefighters continue to battle 14 large wildfires across the state, Cal Fire reports. Yesterday firefighters responded to 27 new wildfires, all of which were quickly contained. Since January 1, there have been 6,630 wildfires that have burned more than 1.4 million acres. 


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CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO FIREFIGHTERS INJURED IN DIXIE FIRE

Source:  Cal Fire

August 16, 2021 (Oroville, Calif.) - On Saturday August 7th around 1:00 a.m., one Cal Fire Captain and three Cal Fire firefighters were injured while engaged in fire suppression on the Dixie Fire in Northern California. A fire-weakened tree fell and injured four members of Rainbow Crew 5, a firefighting handcrew from Cal Fire San Diego Unit. All four were transported to the hospital with various injuries.


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FIREFIGHTERS SAVE MA TAR AWA RV PARK - AIR & GROUND RESOURCES FIGHTING BAMBI FIRE IN ALPINE

5:20 p.m.: Firefighters have stopped the forward rate of spread at 8 acres. Ground crews will continue to mop up and put out any spot fires.

8:45 p.m.: No news is good news.

By Jonathan Goetz

August 11, 2021 -- The #BambiFire in Alpine, north of I-8 on Viejas tribal lands and within the Cleveland National Forest has burned approximately 7-11 acres.

The Incident Commander was overheard calling for help to save Ma Tar Awa RV Park, according to SD County Fire Scanner. NBC San Diego showed dramatic live video from a helicopter of the fire stopped just yards from structures in the park.

The last word was moderate rate of spread, but it is unclear if some resources were cancelled en route, which may mean firefighters think they have a good handle on the situation.


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LYONS VALLEY AREA FIRE DESTROYS A HOME

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Jonathan Goetz also contributed to this report

Photo courtesy of Cal Fire

August 11, 2021 (Lawson Valley-East County) - A fire broke out on Tuesday, August 10, around 6 p.m. that destroyed a home on Lyons Creek Lane just east of Jamul.

According to a tweet sent out by Cal Fire/San Diego County Fire they arrived at the scene of a fully involved structure fire that spread to the surrounding vegetation.  The forward rate of spread of the vegetation fire was stopped at one acre. The fire was off Lyons Creek Lane in the community of Lawson Valley.  It was known as the #LyonsFire.

The firefighters stopped the spread by using water and retardant drops using airplanes and helicopters in approximately 40 minutes.

East County Magazine Wildfire & Emergency Alerts broke the story (Twitter: @eastcountyalert) thanks to Nadin Abbott, who issued live updates to our twitter followers. Prompt coverage on fires in Jamul can save lives as many areas have only one way in/out.

No humans or animals were injured. The cause of the fire was not disclosed at this time. 

If you have photos, details, or an eyewitness account on this or any local emergency please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org

Thanks to the Grossmont Healthcare District and San Diego Regional Fire Foundation for their generous sponsorship of our East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts!


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THUNDERSTORMS THIS WEEK: HIGH FIRE DANGER AND POTENTIAL FLASH FLOODING

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: National Weather Service

August 9, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service is warning of elevated fire conditions, with mountain thunderstorms Monday followed by more thunderstorms Tuesday to Saturday in the deserts and mountains.


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RIGHT LANES AT FANITA DRIVE WB SR-52 CLOSED DUE TO MISSION FIRE, EXPLOSIONS HEARD BEHIND SPROUTS ON MISSION GORGE ROAD IN SANTEE

Update: All lanes open reports Caltrans San Diego, and Fire Scanner reports “[r]esources will be on scene mopping up the fire for the next couple of hours.”

By Jonathan Goetz

August 1, 2021 (Santee) – A vegetation fire nick-named the #MissionFire has closed the two westbound State Route 52 lanes at Fanita Drive, reports Caltrans San Diego.

@SDCountyFires broke the story on twitter and reports that crews have upgraded to a “high wildland response,” firefighter lingo for a serious response and a sign that this fire is being taken very seriously and may pose a great danger to the surrounding community.

The fire burned at least one acre and "multiple explosions" were heard in the area, behind Sprouts at 9361 Mission Gorge Road, they report.

This is a breaking story and updates may be posted above or in a new article.

If you have photos, details, or an eyewitness account on this or any local emergency please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org

Thanks to the Grossmont Healthcare District and San Diego Regional Fire Foundation for their generous sponsorship of our East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts!


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QUEEN FIRE BURNING NEAR JULIAN AND BANNER

Update: The fire is 75% contained, reports Cal Fire San Diego shortly before 5 p.m.

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

August 1, 2021 (Julian) - The #QueenFire has burned 15 acres near the Desert Queen Mine, approximately 2 miles east of Banner and 5 miles east of Julian near State Route 78.

The fire is burning in difficult terrain for ground crews. Cal Fire reported at approximately 3:18 p.m. that "[f]irefighters continue to make great progress from the air and ground."


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PASSAGES: FUND ESTABLISHED TO HELP FAMILY OF ANTHONY CANO, YOUNG LAKESIDE FIREFIGHTER AND FATHER WHO DIED

By Miriam Raftery

Memorial service and fund to help family of Anthony Cano announced



July 29, 2021 (Lakeside) – Anthony Cano, 27, dreamed of being a firefighter from an early age.  For the past five years, he was living his dream as a firefighter and paramedic with the Lakeside Fire Protection District, while enjoying family time with his two children, ages 7 and 2.  But on July 8, he passed away unexpectedly at his home in Temecula of undisclosed causes.


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