Wildfire News

BRUSH FIRE IN JAPATUL VALLEY

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo by Bob Scheid

November 27, 2020 (Japatul Valley) – A 10-acre brush fire is burning along Japatul Valley Road near Red Hawk Road, south of Interstate 8, Cal Fire reports.  The fire is spreading at a moderate rate but firefighters are making good progress.

Evacuation warnings have been issued just south of Windfall Ranch and just south of Lyons Valley Rd. east of Japatul, per the CHP website.   

Japatul Valley Road is closed at the I-8 exit.

 


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SDG&E WARNS 2,700 CUSTOMERS OF POTENTIAL PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS AFTER THANKSGIVING

East County News Service

Nov. 25, 2020  (San Diego’s East County)  – Stock up on coolers to keep your Thanksgiving leftovers chilled.  Due to a Red Flag Warning  issued by the National Weather Service and forecasted Santa Ana winds, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has notified approximately 2,700 customers in the communities of Alpine, Campo Reservation, Crestwood, Descanso, Julian, La Posta Reservation, Manzanita Reservation, Pala, Santa Ysabel, Santa Ysabel Reservation, Valley Center and Viejas Reservation, that it may have to turn off power to reduce wildfire risk beginning early Friday morning.      

 “The last thing we want to be telling any of our customers right now is that we may have to shut off power given the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the ongoing COVID pandemic,” said SDG&E’s Chief Customer Officer Scott Crider. “Public Safety Power Shutoffs are a last resort to prevent wildfires, and our employees are dedicated to doing everything we can to minimize impacts should it come to that. We’re hoping Mother Nature cooperates, but in an abundance of caution we have reached out to our customers so they can be prepared.”

Several hundred SDG&E linemen, troubleshooters and support personnel will be working on Thanksgiving Day and through the holiday weekend to ensure that power can be restored as quickly and as safely as possible, should safety power shutoffs occur.


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RED FLAG WARNING THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING: HIGH FIRE DANGER

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

November 25, 2020 (San Diego's East County)-- The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from Thursday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. through Saturday, Nov. 28 at 9 a.m. for the inland valleys and mountains of San Diego County. The Red Flag Warning has been issued due to strong gusty winds and low humidity.

Areas are forecast to have winds from 25 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. Higher gusts are possible in the windiest locations.

Any fires that develop may spread rapidly with extreme fire behavior, threatening life and property. Be prepared to evacuate if needed. Be sure your cell phone is registered with AlertSanDiego, the county’s regional notification system to receive alerts directly to your mobile device.


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KEEP YOUR FAMILY, PETS SAFE WHEN USING GENERATORS DURING POWER OUTAGES

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

Photo: Creative Commons by NC-ND via Bing

November 20, 2020 (Sacramento) – As California continues to recover from wildfires, FEMA urges everyone who experiences a power outage to be safe when using portable generators.


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CALIFORNIA PROTECTS HOMEOWNERS FROM HAVING FIRE INSURANCE DROPPED - AGAIN

The areas given protection include these zip codes near the destructive Valley Fire in San Diego’s East County:  91901,  91905, 91906, 91914, 91915, 91916, 91917, 91935, 91962, 91963, 91978, 91980,  92021, 92019, 92021, 92040, and  92154.

By James Bikales, CALmatters

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

Photo:  A firefighter hoses down a burning home to help stop the spread of the fire to nearby homes in the Skyhawk community as the Shady Fire burns in Santa Rosa, on Sept. 28, 2020. Photo by Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

November 12, 2020 (Sacramento) - As this year’s historic wildfire season winds down, Californians living in fire-prone territory got temporary relief from another threat: they can’t lose their homeowners’ insurance policies for another year.


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VEHICLE SPARKS BRUSH FIRE IN POTRERO, KILLING MAN WHO MAY HAVE TRIED TO SAVE DOG

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo courtesy of Cal Fire
 
November 9, 2020 (Potrero) – Firefighters responding to a brush fire that charred three acres in Potrero found the bodies of a man and a dog in the back seat of a burned vehicle last Thursday.

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FIRST COLD RAINS ON THE WAY, FREE SANDBAGS FOR UNINCORPORATED RESIDENTS

November 6, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - San Diego County is expected to see its first widespread rains in months this weekend and the County of San Diego and CAL FIRE have free sandbags to help residents in unincorporated communities protect their homes and properties.

The National Weather Service is forecasting rain and winds around San Diego County this weekend, meaning this could be a good time to pick up some free sand and bags.


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FIREFIGHTERS GAIN GROUND ON CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

Fires of Interest:

**Unified Command**

Blue Ridge, Orange and San Bernardino Counties, (More info…)

Yorba Linda and Chino Hills area

*13,694 acres, 96% contained

*CAL FIRE IMT-6 transitioning command back to Orange County Fire Authority.

 


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TWO FAST-MOVING WILDFIRES FORCE 160,000 TO EVACUATE IN ORANGE COUNTY

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  An Orange County Fire Authority truck races by a burning hillside. Courtesy OCFA

October 26, 2020 (Orange County) - Wind-driven wildfires triggered evacuations of more than 160,000 people in Orange County and severely injured two firefighters Monday, as thousands of residents endured a second day of precautionary power shutoffs.


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COUNTY DEBUTS LIFE-SAVING KNOX BOX PROGRAM

 

By Jose Eli Villanueva, County of San Diego Communications Office

October 24, 2020 (San Diego) - County emergency responders have a new tool to help keep homeowners in unincorporated areas safe during a wildfire or medical emergency. It’s called a Knox Box and when it comes to being prepared for disaster… this may be just the key.

Contact us to see if you qualify.

Call:  858-974-5744 

Email:  FireCRR@sdcounty.ca.gov 

Visit:  sandiegocounty.gov/sdcfa 


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RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL DISASTER AID AFTER FIRES

Source: FEMA

Photo:  Valley Fire, by Ron Kasper Dronesystems

October 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- The FEMA Individuals and Housing Program is available to all eligible renters and homeowners in Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, Napa, San Bernardino, San Diego, Shasta, Siskiyou and Sonoma counties, which are covered in the Oct. 16, 2020, federal disaster declaration. Federal monetary awards may help pay for temporary housing and other needs not covered by insurance. The initial rental award is for two months and may be reviewed for further assistance. 


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VALLEY FIRE SURVIVORS MAY APPLY FOR FEDERAL AID TO HELP WITH LOSSES

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  damage assessor surveys losses from the Valley Fire.

October 23, 2020 (Alpine) - Homeowners or renters affected by the Valley Fire in September can now apply for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant through Dec. 15. The grants are designed to help with serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance such as rent, home repair or replacement, medical or dental costs, transportation or other personal property losses.


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STATE INSURANCE COMMISSIONER HOLDS INVESTIGATORY HEARING OCT. 19 ON INSURANCE COST AND AVAILABILITY AFTER WILDFIRES

Source: California Dept. of Insurance

 

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

 

October 16, 2020 (Los Angeles) -- With devastating fires continuing to burn across California, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is convening an investigatory hearing to initiate a series of regulatory actions that will protect residents from the increasing risk of wildfires. Commissioner Lara is taking action to stabilize the insurance market while protecting lives and homes, reducing catastrophic wildfire losses and increasing transparency for consumers. 


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FOUR MILLION ACRES CHARRED, MORE THAN DOUBLE PAST RECORD, AS CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES CONTINUE TO BURN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Local water tender contractor Richard Edwords of Alpine is in Covelo helping to battle the August Complex Fire, which at over 1 million acres is now the largest fire in California history.

October 5, 2020 (San Diego) – At 2 million acres,  California’s all-time record for wildfire devastation in a single year was shattered last month.  Now that figure has more than doubled, with over 4 million acres scorched so far in 2020 by over 8,300 wildfires.

More than 16,600 firefighters continue to work towards containment on 23 major wildfires and one extended attack wildfire across the state.  Yesterday, firefighters also responded to 26 new wildfires, bringing full containment to all but one, the Lambert Fire in Amador County.  But many large, older fires continue to rage as the devastating toll grows.

To date, the total number of fatalities statewide from wildfires this year is 31 and over 8,687 structures have been destroyed.


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IT'S OFFICIAL; FIRES BURN >4 MILLION ACRES

By Emily Hoeven, CalMatters

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

Photo:  The remains of a burned home in Berryessa Highlands on Sept. 21, 2020. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

October 5, 2020 (San Diego) - California surpassed a staggering milestone Sunday:  more than four million acres have now burned in a record-defying fire season still far from over. That’s four Rhode Islands, three-and-a-half Grand Canyon National Parks, and a little more than one Connecticut.


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FAST-MOVING FIRES THREATEN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COMMUNITIES

Source: Cal Fire

Photo: Zogg Fire, Shasta County Sheriff

September 28, 2020 (San Diego) -- Critical fire weather continues to fan multiple fast-moving major wildfires, as Red Flag Warnings remain in place over much of Northern California. Today, there are 27 major wildfires with over 18,000 firefighters on the front lines. During the windy conditions experienced yesterday, the Glass Fire in Napa County erupted, as well as the Zogg Fire in Shasta County, both growing rapidly and forcing evacuations.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 8,100 wildfires that have burned well over 3.7 million acres in California. Since August 15, when California’s fire activity elevated, there have been 26 fatalities and over 7,000 structures destroyed.


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RED FLAG WARNNG: HIGH FIRE DANGER TODAY

 

Source: San Diego County Office of Emergency Services

September 28, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 9/28 for the inland valleys and mountains of San Diego County. The Red Flag Warning has been issued due to strong gusty winds and low humidity.

Areas will see winds from 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Higher gusts are possible in the windiest locations. More forecast information and updates are available from the National Weather Service.

Any fires that develop may spread rapidly with extreme fire behavior, threatening life and property. Be prepared to evacuate if needed, the County warns in an alert to all area residents.


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SDG&E NOTIFIES APPROXIMATELY 700 BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS TO PREPARE FOR POTENTIAL PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS DUE TO SANTA ANA WINDS AND FIRE WEATHER WATCH

September 27, 2020 (San Diego) – Due to elevated fire weather conditions and forecasted Santa Ana winds, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has notified certain backcountry residents that it may have to turn off power in order to reduce wildfire risk in the coming days. Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) are approved by state regulators as an important safety tool to mitigate fire risk during dangerous weather conditions.

The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for Monday for inland San Diego County mountains and foothills. Weak to moderate strength Santa Ana winds are expected to arrive today, peak Monday morning in strength and become weak to moderate by the end of the day. In preparation, SDG&E has activated its Emergency Operations Center to monitor conditions 24/7 and has organized personnel and pre-staged materials and equipment for response.


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PRICE GOUGING A CRIME AFTER VALLEY FIRE

 
By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
September 18, 2020 (Eastern San Diego County) - San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan is warning businesses and scammers not to take advantage of consumers by price gouging during a state of an emergency – doing so can end in prosecution.
 
As a result of the devastating Valley fire in the eastern part of San Diego County, Governor Gavin Newsom and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors declared a state of emergency in San Diego County on September 6. During a declared state of emergency, it is illegal for a business to increase its prices for essential goods or services by more than 10 percent, unless they can show their own costs have been increased.
 
“Wildfires leave a devastating effect on many of our neighbors and we want to send a clear message that we will not tolerate any unlawful activity by a greedy businesses, contractors or scammers who would seek to financially exploit victims of wildfires,” Stephan said. “Price gouging and unlicensed contracting during a state of emergency is not only a crime, it also can further victimize someone who may have lost everything in a wildfire.”

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FIREFIGHTER AMONG 26 KILLED IN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Richard Edwords, El Dorado Fire

September 18, 2020 (San Bernadino) – At least 26 people have lost their lives in 27 wildfires burning statewide, including a firefighter killed yesterday battling the El Dorado Fire in San Bernadino National Forest, the Natoinal Forest Service reports. The firefighter's name has not yet been released. That 21,000 acre blaze was started by a pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party; the responsible parties could be held accountable for millions of dollars in property damage and now, a death.

The fires scorching California and other western states are so massive that smoke has drifted across the U.S. and is visible as far away as New York the BBC news reports.  More than 3 million acres have burned, far surpassing all prior recorded fires in California.


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COUNTY OPENS EROSION CONTROL CENTER FOR VALLEY FIRE BUSINESSES, RESIDENTS

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

September 17, 2020 (Alpine) - The County has opened a new erosion control center in Alpine Thursday to help businesses and homeowners in the areas burned by the Valley Fire by giving out free sandbags, fiber rolls and items to stabilize properties before winter rains arrive.


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SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT SEEKS CANDIDATE TO FILL VACANCY ON BOARD

East County News Service
 
September 17, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- The San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors is accepting resumes through October 6 to fill a vacant seat in Division 6.  (see map)

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JAMUL’S CHANDELIER LOUNGE CUISINE SUPPORTS FIRST RESPONDERS AND THOSE DISPLACED BY VALLEY FIRE

By Henri Migala

 

September 15, 2020 (Jamul) - One of Jamul’s newest restaurants, Chandelier Lounge Cuisine, has not only become a local favorite, but is on the front lines in supporting our first responders and those displaced by the Valley Fire.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: ACTION NEEDED TO CUT CARBON USE, ADDRESS WILDFIRES FUELED BY CLIMATE CHANGE

By Susan Tamura, San Diego
 
September 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- With California wildfires in the forefront, it is readily apparent that climate scientists' predictions of drier conditions in the West are coming to pass.  Wildfires and their smoke are not new to us; it's their ever-increasing magnitude that will test our resilience.

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DRONES (UAV) PROHIBITED FROM FIRE AREA

Source: CAL FIRE

Logos belong respectively to U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE and San Diego County Fire

The “If You Fly, We Can’t” safety awareness campaign is designed to keep drone pilots away from airspace used by firefighters.

September 12, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Federal, state, and local wildland fire management agencies and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urge members of the public not to fly “Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAV)” or drones over or near wildfires. Unauthorized drone flights pose serious risks to firefighter and public safety and the effectiveness of wildfire suppression operations.


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ALL EVACUATION ORDERS, WARNINGS AND ROAD CLOSURES LIFTED FOR VALLEY FIRE

 

Update September 14, 2020:  Containment is now at 87%.

Update September 13, 2020:  Containment is now at 79%.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Walter Schlunegger

September 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – all evacuation orders, evacuations and road closures have been lifted in the Valley Fire, allowing residents to go home.

The last remaining temporary evacuation point at Steele Canyon High School is also closed.

The Valley Fire is now 55% contained, holding at 17,665 acres as ground crews continue working to suppress fire growth. Lighter wins and higher humidity are expected to limit fire growth overnight.

Residents in need of diaster assistance can visit www.SDCountyRecovery.com or cal 858-715-2200.


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FEEDING SAN DIEGO RESPONDS TO VALLEY FIRE BY DOUBLING AMOUNT OF DRY GOODS AVAILABLE AT EAST COUNTY MOBILE PANTRIES

Source:  Feeding San Diego

September 11, 2020 (San Diego) - To assist those facing hardship and disruption to daily life caused by the massive Valley Fire, Feeding San Diego, whose mission is to connect every person facing hunger with nutritious meals by maximizing food rescue, will increase the amount of food available at its East County mobile pantries located in Alpine, Campo, Descanso, Jacumba and Potrero.  


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COUNTY OPENS LOCAL ASSISTANCE CENTER FOR VALLEY FIRE

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Photo: Rancho San Diego County Library (courtesy: County News Center)
 
September 11, 2020 (Rancho San Diego) - County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and officials announced the County is opening a Local Assistance Center to help residents affected by the  Valley Fire, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at the County Library’s Rancho San Diego branch at 11555 Via Rancho San Diego in El Cajon.
 
The Local Assistance Center is designed to make it as easy as possible for residents to start the recovery process by giving them one place to receive help and information from numerous agencies. The center is initially scheduled to operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday.
 
The Local Assistance Center will comply with public health orders for the coronavirus, including physical distancing and facial coverings.

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VALLEY FIRE 39% CONTAINED, BUT STILL A THREAT

By Miriam Raftery

September 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Firefighters have increased containment on the Valley Fire to 39%. But Cal Fire’s latest bulletin cautions, “ Dry fuels and a dry airmass could potentially result in fire growth on portions of the fire.”

A temporary evacuation center at Steele Canyon High School, 12440 Campo Rd. in Spring Valley, remains open but other evacuation centers have closed.

“Ground crews continue to construct and strengthen hand and dozer lines and are focused on mopping up hot spots and providing defense to structures that remain threatened,” Cal Fire reports. “Firefighters are working to mitigate fire growth with the support of aerial assets. For each day the fire stays within its  current perimeter; the threat to the adjacent communities continues to diminish.”

 A high pressure system will slowly build over Southern California through the weekend and will be accompanied by gradually warming temperatures, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

The fire has destroyed 30 homes and 31 other structures, also damaging 11 additional buildings.


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MORE EVACUATION ORDERS LIFTED, EL CAPITAN HIGH EVACUATION LOCATION CLOSED

Source: County Office of Emergency Services

Photo by Debra Hornsby

September 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The Valley Fire is now 35% contained and remains at 17,665 acres.

Some evacuation orders were reduced to warnings in the Carveacre Road area, Lyons Valley Road east to Barrett Lake Road, Japatul Valley and Hidden Glen areas. Pine Valley, Descanso, Alpine, Viejas, Dulzura, Potrero, Barrett Junction also remain under Evacuation Warning. Residents who return home must show proof of residency for entry into the affected areas.


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