Wildfire News

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, prompting rescue 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.

WEST FIRE BENEFIT AND AUCTION AUG. 18

 

East County News Service

July 18, 2018 (Alpine) - A dinner and auction to benefit survivors of the West Fire in Alpine will be held on Saturday, August 18th from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Alpine Community Center.

The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce and Alpine Community Center are organizing the fundraiser. All funds raised will be donated to the Alpine Community Foundation to help and support those affected by the West Fire, which destroyed 34 homes and also destroyed many outbuildings, damaging other properties.

For tickets, visit http://www.AlpineChamber.com.

See details below:

A POLITICAL FIRESTORM IS ABOUT TO HIT THE CAPITOL: WHO WILL PAY FOR WILDFIRE DAMAGES?

 

By Laurel Rosenhall

CALmatters

July 16, 2018 (Sacramento) - Asked this spring to identify the most important issue facing California lawmakers, the leader of the state Senate didn’t hesitate: wildfires.

Two months later—with fires blazing from the Oregon border to San Diego—legislators are poised to wade into a political firestorm sparked by last year’s historic fires and mudslides, which destroyed about 10,000 buildings and killed at least 66 people.

ALPINE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION NOW ACCEPTING TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO HELP WEST FIRE SURVIVORS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Drone video of West Fire devastation in Alpine: "Aftermath from above" by Joseph A. Acevedo, N6SIX

July 15, 2018 (Alpine) – People who want to help Alpine residents rebuild homes lost after the West Fire, and fill gaps that insurance companies and other agencies aren’t filling, can now make a tax deductible donation to the Alpine Community Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

A community recovery team will help the Foundation verify needs and resources. Money will pay bills directly, and will not be paid directly to individuals. Those in greatest need will receive help first.  The Foundation is run by volunteers in the community, so no fees will be charged and 100% of donations will benefit fire survivors.

HOW TO HELP WEST FIRE SURVIVORS IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (Alpine) – Many of our readers have been asking how to help people who lost homes in the West Fire in Alpine earlier this month.  Several organizations are helping out and GoFundMe pages have also been set up for some of the families.

Alpine Christian Fellowship has established a West Fire relief fund that is accepting financial donations.  You can also sign up to volunteer to help with debris clean up, supply distribution, food and water, pet care, child care, spiritual care, or transportation.

A Fire Victim Supply Post has been set up at Boulder Oaks Elementary (2320 Tavern Rd., Alpine) where you can donate and drop off supplies to help fire survivors such as clothing, clean-up supplies, non-perishable food items and household goods.  For more info please call or text Margo at 619-876-8713 or Stephanie at 619-573-5638.

Keller Williams Realty has started a fund to help West Fire survivors and is also accepting donations of immediate relief supplies at three locations in Alpine and El Cajon. Details are at their GoFundMe link.

Below are other  GoFundMe sites set up to help specific individuals and families who lost homes in the West Fire. While some have already raised tens of thousands of dollars, other have nearly no donations. Please help our neighbors in need.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: SAN MIGUEL FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE FLAMES IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (Alpine) – San Miguel Fire Protection District posted these dramatic images of their firefighters battling to save mobile homes during the West Fire in Alpine on July 6th.   

"PEACE OF MIND" 3-10-MINUTE EVACUATION PLAN FOR WILDFIRES PART 2

 

By Christina Whipple

July 13, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - Sorry to disappoint folks; you don't need to be a zombie-killing-doomsday-prepper to be prepared.  (Although some of those paracord bracelets look pretty cool...)  Since there is so much information available, it can be overwhelming to start any type of preparedness plan.   I'll make it easy for you.    First, read the article:  Peace-of-Mind 3-10 Minute Evacuation Plan for Wildfires - Part 1.   Second, implement the suggestions in that article.

"PEACE OF MIND" 3-10 MINUTE EVACUATION PLAN FOR WILDFIRES PART 1

 

By Chris Whipple

 

July 12, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - Living in the back country provides many people a little bit of paradise that could never be found in a city.   Unfortunately, the worry about wildfires have caused lifetime residents to view their homes in the new light of "defensible space,” "insurance" and "preparedness.”  This is first of two articles to allow families to have "peace-of-mind" if disaster should strike. 

COUNTY OPENS ASSISTANCE CENTER FOR FIRE VICTIMS

 

 

By Suzanne Bartole, County of San Diego Communications Office

July 11, 2018 (Alpine) - A local assistance center has been set up at the Alpine Library following the recent West Fire, that destroyed homes in the Alpine community, and the Building Fire.

The County of San Diego, along with other community partners, has experts stationed there so that fire victims can get everything they need to know in one central location.

OUR EAST COUNTY WILDFIRE ALERTS PROVIDED CRITICAL, TIMELY INFORMATION DURING EARLY HOURS OF WEST FIRE IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Bob Scheid, shortly after the West Fire began, helped us provide critical early warning to our readers

July 9, 2018 (Alpine) – In the critical first few hours of the West Fire in Alpine, our East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts provided the earliest news that a fire had begun and was threatening homes in Alpine. In the first 12 hours, we posted 38 updates including Twitter, email, articles and social media.

During the fire’s first day, our first alert was sent at 11:44 a.m (simultaneous to the Forest Service's first Tweet five minutes after the fire was reported at 11:39 a.m., per Cal Fire's incident report). That was nearly an hour and a half before the first Cal Fire and County Fire Authority Tweet at 1:04 p.m.  and a full four hours before the first Cal-Fire e-mail alert went out at 3:43 p.m. announcing “numerous structures destroyed.”

Cal Fire/County Fire Chief Tony Mecham has said homes were burning within eight minutes after the fire started, Patch.com reports.

Alpine Fire Department, battling the inferno amid power outages and grappling with a seriously injured fire captain, didn’t get their first Twitter alert out until the next day.  Cleveland National Forest did send timely alerts via Twitter only, but stopped after the fire burned outside of federal lands and into neighborhoods with homes.

During the first 12 hours of the fire, we sent frequent updates via Twitter and email, as well as posting numerous updates on our webpage plus photos and video link. We even went the extra mile to post some information on our Facebook page and on some community forum Facebook pages in or near the Alpine area, where many were without power but could access those sites on cell phones.

ANIMAL SERVICES HELPS PETS, LIVESTOCK DISPLACED IN WEST FIRE

 

Owners sought for pets found after Alpine fire

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

July 9, 2018 (Alpine) - The County Department of Animal Services rescued or sheltered approximately 30 animals from the West Fire, and after reuniting all but four, staff members are helping people impacted by the fire with pet food and resources if needed at the Alpine Local Assistance Center.

DONATE GOODS TO HELP ALPINE FIRE VICTIMS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2018 (Alpine)--A donation center has been set up  by Living Life Alpine for the pubic to drop off goods to help survivors of the West Fire in Alpine, which destroyed at least 35 homes as well as many outbuildings, also damaging other properties.  Donations can be dropped from from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Boulder Oaks Elementary School auditorium at 2320 Tavern Road, Alpine.

This location has changed from an earlier site opened last night, which has already provided relief supplies to several families. 

“Any donations are welcome,” the organization’s Facebook page states.  “Here are some ideas:”

WITH FIRE 92% CONTAINED, ALPINE RESIDENTS RETURN HOME – WITH DOZENS FINDING ONLY ASHES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Ready San Diego

July 8, 2018 (Alpine)—The grim toll wrought by the 505-acre West Fire in Alpine has risen. With the wildfire now 92 percent contained and all evacuations lifted, reentry brought relief for some who found homes still standing, but heartache for others facing total devastation.

The fire destroyed at least 56 structures, including 34 homes, a business, and 21 other buildings including barns and sheds.  Another 15 homes were damaged, along with 5 outbuildings.

Merlyn Cochran, assistant manager at Baron’s Market, was at work  when the fire started. Neighbors Al and Sharon Haven told Cochran and her husband to “go get my mother-in-law, who is 96 years old and lives at our ranch, because the winds were shifting and blowing towards our ranch,” Cochran recalls.

ALPINE FIRE CAPTAIN AND SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD MEMBER MIKE VACIO INJURED IN WEST FIRE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Facebook

July 8, 2018 (Alpine) — An Alpine Fire Department crew, the first to arrive at the West Fire in Alpine on Friday, swiftly found themselves surrounded by flames and narrowly managed to escape.  The scorching flames were so hot that they melted tires on the fire engine, 10 news reports.

HEARTBREAK AND HEROISM IN ALPINE

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, courtesy San Diego Sheriff Office, Alpine

 

July 6, 2018 (Alpine) – At the Secret Hills Ranch in Alpine, owner Missy Bender posted this  panicked message on Facebook today as the #WestFire approached: “Fire is here desperately need help…”   With 41 horses in need of evacuation, she pleaded for  help “even on foot” adding that the Sheriff wasn’t letting trailers in. “We have to lead horses out on foot,” she said, adding, “We are fighting the fire off our back fence…”

CAL FIRE LIFTS EVACUATION WARNING FOR SOME WEST FIRE AREAS

 

Update July 8, 2018 --  A Local Assistance Center (LAC) will open Monday, July 9th at the Alpine Library. County representatives & other organizations will be there to help impacted residents begin the rebuilding & recovery process. The LAC will operate 9am-6 pm, until further notice.

Source: County Emergency Services

Photo by Miriam Raftery

Update 8:30 p.m. -- Due to more accurate mapping Cal Fire reports the West Fire is now 504 acres. Firefighters continue to make excellent progress, as the fire is now 81% contained. Evacuation orders and road closures remain in effect throughout the night.

 

July 7, 2018 (Alpine) 6 p.m. --CAL FIRE San Diego announced that the following areas previously under evacuation order or warning for the West fire are now open to residents only:

  • Palo Verde Ranch community to areas outside the fire perimeter
  • Rancho Palo Verde community to areas outside the fire perimeter
  • West of South Grade Road area
  • West of the fire perimeter
  • South of Alpine Boulevard between Peutz Valley Road and South Grade Road
  • West of South Grade Road between Alpine Boulevard and Via Viejas Oeste
  • West of Via Vejas Oeste between South Grade Road and Via Asoleado
  • West of Via Asoleado between Via Viejas Oeste and Japatul Road 

The following areas remain under an evacuation order throughout the night and until further notice:

RECOVERY RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR WEST FIRE SURVIVORS; 18 HOMES LOST IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 7, 2018 (Alpine) – Firefighters made progress on the #WestFire overnight, holding the wildfire to 400 acres with containment now 30%.  At least 18 homes are reported destroyed and 8 more damaged.  Evacuation orders remain in place.  A shelter at Los Coches Middle School remains open and pets are welcome at the shelter.

If you need help after the #West Fire in Alpine, you can call 211 or click here for a list of resources:  https://www.sdcountyrecovery.com/events/july-2018-fire-recovery-resources/.

State and county emergency declarations have been issued. 

FIRES IN NORTH COUNTY

 

Update July 7, 2018 10 a.m.  The brush fire near Camp Pendleton has burned 1,000 acres.  Crews remain in the Miramar area today mopping up hot spots.

Update 8 p.m.:  The brush fire east of Camp Pendleton is 40% contained after burning 330 acres, but no structures have been reported lost.  Residents in Scripps Ranch and Miramar have been warned to be prepared for possible evacuations, NBC 7 reports.

 

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alert Service

 

July 6, 2018 -- A 25 acre brush fire near Stonebridge Estates/Scripps Ranch in Miramar was reported to San Diego Fire Department at 3:25 pm., Bob Ilko, president of the Scripps Ranch Civic Association has informed East County Magazine.

 

In Oceanside, a 125-acre fire at Camp Pendleton has forced evacuations of 750 homes.

STRUCTURES BURNING IN DULZURA AND ALPINE BRUSH FIRES

 

Update 5 p.m. The County has declared an emergency due to the fires: County proclaims a local emergency due to the fires:  http://www.sdcountyemergency.com/updates/county-proclaims-local-emergenc...   The Governor has also declared a state emergency in San DIego County moments ago: @JerryBrownGov declares state of emergency in San Diego County due to #WestFire https://bit.ly/2MPRlNi

Update 3:10 p.m.:  10 News, ECM's news partner, has provided a map of the #WestFire in Alpine.

Update 2:30 p.m. Fire is now 350 acres in Alpine and 0% contained.

Update 2:10 p.m. Lakeside Rodeo Grounds is open for large animal evacuations.

Update 1:50 p.m.  CHP has shut down I-8 east at Tavern Rd. The Tavern and Willows Rd. exits are also closed. Over 1,400 homes are without power in the Alpine area due to lines damaged by the fire; estimated restoration time is 4 p.m. per SDG&E.

Update 1:30 p.m.:  The #WestFire in Alpine is now 150 acres. Mandatory evacuations are underway. Homes are burning on Honey Hill Road.

 

Photos:  #WestFire in Alpine, by Robert Scheid

View video:https://www.facebook.com/robert.scheid.35/videos/1024052857719513/

July 6, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- Two brush fires have burned at least one structure each in Dulzura and Apine.  The #StructureFire at State Route 94 and Community Rd. in Dulzura has charred over 10 acres per Cal Fire and prompted 144 evacuation notices to be issued per County Emergency Services.  NBC 7 has film of a structure in flames.

In Alpine, the #WestFire started south of I-8, west of Willows, and is burning toawrd mobile homes, an eyewitness at the scene advises ECM. It is now estimated at 10-15 acres per Cleveland National Forest which confirms structures are threatened. A Fox TV video shows at least one structure already burning.  A DC 10 has been requested.

Robert Scheid, an eyewitness at the scene, says the fire in Alpine is burning toward mobile homes and that some flames are as tall as power poles.

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