Wildfire News

ACCUSED ARSONIST ARRESTED AFTER SERIES OF BRUSH FIRES IN OTAY

East County News Service
 
September 16, 2019 (Otay Valley) – Ramon Guevara, 49, has been arrested by San Diego Police on suspicion of arson, Times of San Diego reports.  
 
The suspect is charged with 19 brush fires that have ignited since Friday near a homeless camp on Beyer Way in the Otay Valley area, according to San Diego Police Sergeant Matt Botkin.
 
Witness descriptions and a helicopter search led to the arrest of the suspect. Crews from multiple fire departments responded to the blazes.  

BRUSH FIRE NEAR SDSU

East County News Service

Photo by Hannah Gbeh

September 15, 2019 (San Diego) - A brush fire is burnng at 5500 Canyon Crest near SDSU. SDFD has many firefighters on the ground as well as air resources on this fire and have now halted forward spread.

A student apartment complex has been evacuated. SDG&E cut electricity to trolley lines and MTS has rerouted trolley and bus service in the vicinity. A bus bridge is operating between Alvarado Trolley station and SDSU. The College Ave. offramp from I-8  is shut down due to the fire. 

Please avoid the area if possible. 

LOCAL FIRST RESPONDERS AND RESIDENTS REMEMBER 9-11 ATTACKS

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 11, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001 which killed  thousands of innocent Americans shocked the consciousness of our nation.  Here in San Diego’s East County, first responders and residents impacted by the disaster have been speaking out, striving to make sure that we never forget the tragedy and lessons learned on that fateful day.

SDG&E TO HOLD LAST WILDFIRE SAFETY FAIR IN ALPINE ON SATURDAY

East County News Service

September 11, 2019 (Alpine) -- SDG&E is encouraging Alpine and surrounding area community members to attend the Wildfire Safety Fair taking place this Saturday, September 14th at the Alpine Community Center (1830 Alpine Blvd.) from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

12 APARTMENT UNITS DAMAGED IN SPRING VALLEY BLAZE; FIREFIGHTERS SAVE DOG

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 8, 2019 (Spring Valley) – San Miguel Firefighters were first on the scene after multiple reports of an apartment fire this morning at 8:30 a.m. in Spring Valley, arriving to find heavy smoke from the first and second floors of a 12-unit complex on Jamacha Blvd. near Trace Rd.

TENAJA FIRE ENGULFS MURRIETA AREA IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY; 2,000 EVACUATE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Tenaja Fire, Southern Calif. Edison webcam

September 5, 2019 (Riverside County) – The fast-moving Tenaja Fire that started just before 4 p.m. yesterday near Tenaja Rd. and Clinton Keith Road in south Riverside County’s La Cresta community has swelled to over 2,000 acres, causing mandatory evacuation of around 2,000 homes in La Cresta and Murrieta, KTLA reports this evening. 

IN THE WILDLAND URBAN INTERFACE WORKSHOP IN CAMPO SEPT. 7

East County News Service

 

September 4, 2019 (Campo) – The Fire Safe Council of San Diego, Cal Fire and the County Fire Authority invite you to learn principles firefighters use to protect your home and community at the Wildland Urban Interface Workshop on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Registration, networking and refreshments will begin at 7:30 with the course at 8 a.m. at the Mountain Health Community Center, 976 Sheridan Rd., Campo.

HELIX AND PADRE DAM HELP RESTORE WATER IN PARADISE

East County News Service
 
Photo courtesy of Helix Water District
 
September 4, 2019 (Paradise, Calif.) --The wildfire that killed 85 people last year in Paradise, California burned down nearly the entire town, destroying over 19,000 structures.  It also left more than 10,000 residents without water deemed unfit to drink. The fire burned through pipes and also contaminated most water mains with chemicals.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH ISSUED

September 2, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- A flash flood watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for portions of  southern California include  San Diego County's mountain and desert areas today and tonight.

Additional thunderstorms are possible Monday and Tuesday. 

Runoff caused by very intense but brief rainfall can gather in  arroyos and small streams as well as urban surfaces. 

There is a  risk of mudslides and debris flows in steep terrain and in burn  areas.

CAL FIRE AIMS TO BUY C-130 AIR ATTACK TANKER TO FIGHT FIRES LOCALLY

 

East County News Service

 

Update September 18, 2019:   Cal Fire has issued corrections on inacccurate information provided in a County press release and video. This plane and others are set to be given to Cal Fire by the federal government, not sold.  The planes are not yet equipped with fire retardant and are not slated to arrive in Califiornia likely for a couple of years, according to Cal Fire Captain and Public Information Officer Issac Sanchez. See our full update:  https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/cal-fire-issues-corrections-c-130-pla....

 

August 30, 2019 (Ramona) -- A C-130 air tanker on loan in Ramona has been used to train additional pilots this past week. Ultimately, Cal Fire’s goal is to purchase a C-130 to permanently base in our region, says Cal Fire spokesman Isaac Sanchez.

RIDGECREST EARTHQUAKES GENERATE SPIKE IN CEA QUAKE INSURANCE PURCHASES

CEA gains more than 23,000 policies in July

East County News Service

Photo:  Ridgecrest earthquake 

August 28, 2019 (Sacramento) — The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) gained 23,861 earthquake insurance policies in July, the second-largest monthly net increase in CEA’s 23-year history. This growth was driven by the magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes, and a number of aftershocks, that struck on unnamed faults near the Mojave Desert town of Ridgecrest starting on the Fourth of July holiday.

SYCUAN BUYS FORMER VOLUNTEER FIRE STATION IN DEHESA

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via Cal Fire:  Cal Fire doused a brush fire in Dehesa in July, operating out of a Cal Fire station. 
 
August 25, 2019 (Dehesa) – Going, going, gone.  A county auction sold off the former Dehesa fire station as surplus property on August 6th. The buyer is the Sycuan band of the Kumeyaay nation, which purchase the site for $650,000.  

HUMANE SOCIETY RESCUES DOG WITH HEAT STROKE AT THREE SISTERS HIKING TRAIL

East County News Service

August 20, 2019 (Descanso) -- San Diego Humane Society is reminding pet owners to leave their animals at home when exercising on hot days. With another heat wave this week, it is crucial to remember that animals are sensitive to the conditions. Dogs are lower to the ground, absorbing heat from above and below. Their paws are also sensitive, as the ground is often much hotter than the air.

VEGETATION FIRE ON MARRON VALLEY RD. IN DULZURA

East County News Service

August 15, 2019 (Dulzura) - Cal Fire is responding to a reported vegetation fire on Marron Valley Rd. near Dulzura.  The fire is now estimated to be 30 acres, no structures threatened.  Cal Fire has requested additional air and ground resources.

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FIRE IN MEXICO COULD CROSS BORDER NEAR POTRERO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: SDG&E webcam

Other photos:  Steve Wingfield of Jamul

 

Update August 16:  The fire in Mexico has been renamed  #Border8Fire. It is now over 1,500 acres and is 30% contained. Cal Fire is preparing to send a strike team to assist firefighters in Mexico.

Update August 15:  The fire is now 1,100 acres but still confined to Mexico. Cal Fire is monitoring the situation.

August 14, 2019 (Tecate) – A fire burning in Mexico has scored over 250 acres in the Tecate area and has potential to cross the border near Potero.  Cal Fire has pre-treated fuels on the U.S. side of the border and will have crews remain on scene overnight at the fire, dubbed #BorderFire.  The blaze is within 1/8 of a mile from the international border Cal Fire reports.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT PROGRAM DELIVERS ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO FIREFIGHTERS ON THE FRONT LINES

East County News Service

Augut 12, 2019 (San Diego) - Would you like to support your local firefighters when they need it most? If so, check out the Firefighter Go Bag Community Support Program a California based company is offering.  

FireMom.com’s Community Support Program delivers all of the health, hygiene, and nutritional items that are truly unique to firefighters’ needs, when they’re out fighting fires for days at a time, in one convenient Go Bag.

When you purchase bags from the program, FireMom.com delivers them directly to the fire departments that need them the next time a large fire happens. The program ensures firefighters get the supplies they need in a complete kit, with no lag time, or trying to piecemeal items together.  

SDG&E ANNOUNCES NEW WILDFIRE SAFETY INITIATIVES AHEAD OF PEAK WILDFIRE SEASON

New Blackhawk helicopter, tactical command vehicle, evacuation planning map books, Information and Community Resource Centers and Wildlife Resiliency Fairs provide protection to customers

Source: SDG&E

August 8, 2019 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announces new upgrades to improve wildfire preparedness and help ensure the safety of everyone in the region. For more than a decade, the company has been adding new monitoring technology, upgrading existing infrastructure and working with first responders. Today, the company unveiled additional enhancements, including a second aerial firefighting asset, as the latest strategic improvement to help ensure public safety.

BRUSH FIRE IN OTAY MESA CHARS 490 ACRES, EVACUATIONS LIFTED

 

Photo: San Diego Fire and Rescue

Update August 2, 2019 ,11 a.m.  The Caliente Fire is 60% contained at 490 acres. An arson investigation is underway; Fox 5 interviewed a witness who saw teen boys fleeing scene when the fire began.  NBC 7 reports two businesses burned, but no homes were lost.

Update August 1, 2019, 8 p.m.  The fire has burned 490 acres and is 50% contained. Around 70 structures were evacuated but none were lost. A pallet fire caused explosions, but no one was injured, Chula Vista Fire reports. Evacuation orders have been lifted and all roads are now open.

AFTER WILDFIRES, GOVERNOR NEWSOM SIGNS BILL REQUIRING “KNOW YOUR RIGHTS” INSURANCE DISCLOSURES FOR MOBILE HOME AND CONDO RESIDENTS

East County News Service

Photo: Mobile homes burning during July 2018 West Fire in Alpine

July 31, 2019 (Sacramento) -- After earning strong bipartisan support in the Senate and Assembly, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 508 authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that will require insurers to provide timely disclosures and information to mobile home and condominium residents regarding their residential property insurance policies and their rights associated with their policy.

LAWSUITS FILED CHALLENGE COUNTY’S APPROVAL OF MASSIVE HOUSING PROJECT IN PROCTOR VALLEY ON FIRE DANGER, ENVIRONMENTAL THREATS

By Miriam Raftery

July 27, 2019 (Proctor Valley) – Last week, San Diego County Supervisors approved the controversial Otay Ranch Village 14 master-planned community in Proctor Valley near Jamul, which passe by 3-2 vote. 

Now environmental groups have filed lawsuits, hoping a judge will cast the deciding vote to block the project, based on fire danger to residents and threats to wildlife.  A press release issued by the plaintiffs, Center for Biological Diversity, Endangered Habitat League, Sierra Club, California Chaparral Institute, Preserve Wild Santee, and California Native Plant Society, calls the project “a sprawl development that will pave over hundreds of acres of habitat for golden eagles and other imperiled wildlife and build new homes in one of California’s most dangerously fire-prone areas.”

LOCAL CAL FIRE FIREFIGHTER DIES AFTER TRAINING HIKE

By Miriam Raftery

July 29, 2019 (San Diego) – A Cal Fire firefighter on a training hike with his engine crew suffered a medical emergency this morning. He was airlifted by a San Diego County Sheriff’s helicopter and an air ambulance to Temecula Valley Hospital in critical condition, where he died despite the diligent efforts of medical staff. 

Governor Gavin Newsom order the flag at the state capitol flown at half mast.  “On behalf of all Californians, Jennifer and I extend our sincere condolences to CAL FIRE Firefighter Yaroslav Katkov’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time," the Governor states. "It’s the work of brave firefighters like Yaroslav that keep our communities safe, and we are deeply grateful for his service.”

COUNTY TO SHARE LEASE COST FOR SECOND FIREFIGHTING HELICOPTER

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  stock photo of a UH-60 Black Hawk helitanker with a water bucket.  Image credit:  Shutterstock

July 29, 2019 (San Diego) - The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to share a Black Hawk helitanker lease with San Diego Gas & Electric, giving an additional boost to the region’s aerial firefighting options during peak fire season.

CAL FIRE BATTLING VEGETATION FIRE IN DEHESA

 

UPDATE July 29, 2019 8:20 a.m.:  The fire has burned 150 acres and is now 50 percent contained, Cal Fire reports.  One lane of Dehesa Rd. has been opened for traffic according to the Dept. of Public Works.

UPDATE 8:38 p.m.:  Forward spread has been halted. The fire has burned 50 acres and is now 10% contained.  Dehesa Rd. is closed at Willow Glen Dr. on the west and Harbison Canyon Rd. on the east.  Three homes remain evacuated but no structures were damaged and none are threatened. Cal Fire, the USFS, Sycuan Fire, San Miguel Fire, San Diego Sheriff, CHP and County Animal Control are at the scene, where 17 engines are working on the fire. Mop-up is underway/

UPDATE  7:09 p.m.:  Per the Incident Commander, the fire is now estimated to be 50 acres and 0% contained. 3 homes have been voluntarily evacuated along Dehesa Rd but no evacuation warnings or orders have been issued. There are no homes that are currently being threatened.

East County News Service

July 28, 2019 (Dehesa) - Cal Fire is responding to a reported vegetation fire in the area of Dehesa Rd. near Sycuan Summit Dr. The fire is 25 acres with a moderate rate of spread.

View photos:

Photo right: View from Target in Rancho San Diego, by Paul Kruze.

Photo, left: Smoke acros East County, by Andy Calderon

 

 

 

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LIGHTNING SPARKS BRUSH FIRE ON LOS COYOTES RESERVATION

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Update 10:30 p.m.  The fire is 2 acres and fire spread has been stopped. Firefighters will remain at scene overnight and into the morning to complete containment line and mop-up, per Cal Fire.

Photos by Chet Kalinowska

July 25, 2019 (Warner Springs) -- Lightning has sparked a brush fire on the Los Coyotes reservation in the Warner Springs area. The fire has burned approximately 1.5 acres as of 7:30 p.m., below the historic Hot Springs overlook.

Cal Fire reports that air resources are holding the fire's spread to a minimum while ground crews gain acces in difficult terrain to build a hand line around the #Springsfire.

Federal firefighters from Cleveland National Forest are assisting Cal Fire on the fire including two helicopters, a hot shot crew, chief officer, fire engine and a water tender.

FLASH FLOODING AND EXTREME THUNDERSTORM WARNING IN EFFECT

July 24, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- The National Weather Service has issued a flash flooding and extreme thunderstorm warning for the southeast portions of San Diego County in effect now through 4 p.m.  Locations likely to experience flooding include  Alpine, I-8 Between Pine Valley And Boulevard, Lake Morena, Potrero, Campo, Pine Valley, Descanso, Tecate, Guatay and Barrett  Lake.

Photo, right: Rainstorm over Boulevard, taken by Donna Tisdale this afternoon

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS:

Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding of small creeks and streams, country roads, farmland, and other low lying  spots.

In hilly terrain there are hundreds of low water crossings which are potentially dangerous in heavy rain. Do not attempt to cross flooded roads. Find an alternate route.

READER’S EDITORIAL: “SOME ARE DOWN MEMORY LANE, SOME ARE ON FIRE.”

By Preston Brown

 

Photo: Preston Brown, copyright (c) 2019

 

July 23, 2019, (San Diego’s East County) -- Recently at the Board of Supervisors hearing on the Otay Ranch V14 Project, “Adara," all the issues of land use in the wildland urban interface (WUI), environmental protection, conservation, urban planning, housing sprawl, fire safety and the County process for granting approval came together in this one project proposal for Proctor Valley in the Jamul Dulzura Sub Area Plan jurisdiction. 

 

Some people have a knack for hitting the bull’s eye. That would be our Supervisor Dianne Jacob of the 2nd District. Dianne spoke first and her first question was this. ‘Do you folks have any fire insurance?’ ‘Have you been able to get fire insurance?’ This was a memorable moment. The room just froze. A proposal for 1,119 new high-density housing sprawl in a very high fire prone area in California and no one had thought about fire insurance.

ECM SERIES ON WEST FIRE IN ALPINE WINS JOURNALISM AWARD

By Miriam Raftery

July 18, 2019 (Alpine) – East County Magazine’s reporting on the West Fire in Alpine has received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists San Diego chapter.  The series, written by editor Miriam Raftery, won third place prize in the daily reporting and writing series category, announced at last night’s awards ceremony at the Kona Kai Resort.

SDG&E ANNOUNCES POWER OUTAGES PLANNED IN WARNER SPRINGS ON JULY 20 AND 22 FOR WOOD-TO-STEEL POLE UPGRADES

Company provides tips on how to prepare for planned outages

East County News Service

July 17, 2019 (Warner Springs) -- To strengthen the regional electric system against the threat posed by wildfires, SDG&E contractors will be working in Warner Springs to upgrade wooden power poles with fire-resistant steel poles. For the safety of the construction crews, electricity in that community will need to be turned off on two days – Saturday, July 20, and again onn Monday, July 22, – to accommodate the work.

On both days the planned outages will begin at 7:30 a.m. and will last up to 8.5 hours, according to SDG&E. Swapping out wood poles with steel poles requires the use of a helicopter, which can only be flown during daylight hours. 

In addition to upgrading the poles, crews will also replace older overhead distribution lines and other equipment, to increase the system’s capacity to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as high winds.

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