Wildfire News

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.

SENATOR HUESO NAMED TO CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

 

East County News Service

July 5, 2018 (San Diego) -- California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) has announced the appointment of Senators who will serve on the Conference Committee on Wildfire Preparedness and Response. They include Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), whose district includes the southern portion of East County.

BRUSH FIRE IN WITCH CREEK CHARS FIVE ACRES

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 July 2, 2018 (Ramona) – The Creek Fire that started this afternoon in the Witch Creek area near 25379 Creek Hollow Road, east of Ramona, has burned five acres and is currently 5% contained, according to Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham.

 Forward spread of the vegetation fire has been stopped and no structures are threatened. There are no road closures. 

FIREFIGHTERS FIND BODY IN SANTEE

 

East County News Service

June 30, 2018 (Santee) – After dousing a brush fire that charred about 500 square feet near Santee Lakes this afternoon, firefighters found a body at the scene.

The blaze was reported around 2:10 p.m. in the 9300 block of Fanita Parkway, Sheriff’s Lt. Rich Williams said, Patch.com reports.

The Medical Examiner is working to try and identify the decease. No description has been provided. Authorities are investigating the cause of both the death and the fire, but it is not yet known whether foul play was involved.

DRONE GROUNDED HELICOPTER IN SANTEE FIRE

 

East County News Service

June 26, 2018 (Santee) -- Cal Fire reports that a drone forced grounding of a firefighting helicopter today in Santee while ground crews fought a fire that began late this afternoon on Prospect Ave. near Highway 52 and Cuyamaca.

The blaze briefly caused evacuations, 10 News reports.  The fire has now been contained, according to the Sheriff's Department.

RETIRED JULIAN FIRE CHIEF ACCUSED OF STATE LAW VIOLATIONS IN PERB COMPLAINT

 

By Ken Stone

Credit to Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Julian Fire Chief Rick Marinelli (left) with a Julian resident after July 2017 special meeting of fire district. Photo by Julie Pendray via eastcountymagazine.org

June 26, 2018 (Julian) - Five months before retiring, Julian’s fire chief violated state law — threatening volunteer firefighters involved in a vote of no confidence in his leadership, a labor agency says.

But Rick Marinelli, who left as chief in late May, denies allegations made in the state agency’s complaint against the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District.

10TH ANNIVERSARY OF COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY GETS CHILLY JULIAN RECEPTION

 

By Ken Stone, originally published at Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

June 18, 2018 (Julian) - Julian residents Lori Foss and Patricia Van Natta stood quietly in a heating-up helicopter hangar Thursday, watching their East County supervisor and Cal Fire chief boast of backcountry fire readiness.

INMATE FIREFIGHTER, ESCAPED FROM MCCAIN VALLEY CAMP, IS BACK IN CUSTODY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2018 (McCain Valley) – An inmate firefighter last seen in his bunk last Tuesday night at the McCain Valley Conservation Camp in East County was taken into custody Friday night, the California Department of Corrections has announced.

JULIAN FIREFIGHTER ASSOCIATION HOSTS SPAGHETTI FUNDRAISER JUNE 16 AT FIRE HOUSE MUSEUM IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 11, 2018 (Julian/San Diego) – The Julian Firefighter Association invites you to a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Saturday, June 16th at the Fire House Museum (1572 Columbia St.) in downtown San Diego’s Little Italy district.  Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m. at an evening that honors Fire Captain Dave Southcott and other volunteers.

BRUSH FIRE IN CAMPO

 

Update June 12, 2018 9:45 a.m. -- Church Road is reopened. The fire is 70% contained with forward spread stopped.

Update 7 p.m.:  Cal Fire reports the Church Fire is actually 2 fires, one that burned 9 acres and the other a spot fire at one acre. Forward spread has been stopped and the combined blaze is 30% contained.  Church Road remains closed from Highway 94 to Old Highway 80. One structure has been threatened and the resident self-evacuated. Crews remain on scene mopping up the fires.

June 11, 2018 (Campo) 3:25 p.m. -- Cal Fire reports a 4 acre brush fire, #ChurchIC, in Campo.

CHP has ordered a closure of Church Road at Old Highway 80, where the fire was reported a short time ago near the Golden Acorn Casino. The incident commander reports a structural threat and says the fire is burning at a moderate rate of spread.

DANGEROUS BEACH CONDITIONS

 

East County News Service

 

June 9, 2018 (San Diego) - The National Weather Service has issued a warning advising that a Southern Hemisphere swell will arrive at local beaches this weekend, peaking Sunday through Tuesday.   This will pose a hazard to beach goers, creating strong surf.  Arrows on this map, provided by forecaster Alexander Tardy, shows the broad swatch of south swell west of Hurricane Aletta off the Pacific Coast.

CAL FIRE: 12 NORTHERN CA WILDFIRES CAUSED BY PG&E POWER LINES: EIGHT CASES SENT TO DISTRICT ATTORNEYS FOR ALLEGED CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS

 

East County News Service

June 8, 2018 (Sacramento) -- After extensive and thorough investigations, CAL FIRE investigators have determined that 12 Northern California wildfires in the October 2017 Fire Siege were caused by electric power and distribution lines, conductors and the failure of power poles. Cal Fire has referred cases in eight fires to local District Attorneys to consider criminal prosecutions.

CAL FIRE MAKES ONE OF THE LARGEST ILLEGAL FIREWORKS SEIZURES IN STATE HISTORY

 

Source:  Cal Fire

June 7, 2018 (Sacramento) - With the Fourth of July Holiday just around the corner, CAL FIRE announced one of the largest seizures of illegal fireworks in state history today.

Following a months long investigation, CAL FIRE law enforcement officers arrested seven individuals and seized over 49,000 pounds of fireworks over the past two weeks in connection to a large-scale illegal firework ring. Law enforcement officers found these suspects have been illegally importing, transporting, storing, distributing and selling illegal and dangerous fireworks throughout California for more than 30 years.

BRUSH FIRE IN CAMPO PROMPTS EVACUATION WARNINGS

 

Update June 8, 2018 11 a.m. -- Cause of the fire has been determined to be a campfire on private land. The fire is now 85% contained.

Update June 7, 2018 10 a.m. -- Cal Fire reports the fire is holding at 265 acres and is now 30% contained. 

Update 4:30 p.m.: The fire is now 265 acres and 5% contaiued with forward spread stop. Evacuations have been lifted but a soft closure remains at La Posta Rd., Cal Fire reports.

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Mark Siegmund, who called 911 to report the fire.

June 6, 2018 (Campo) – Cal Fire reports a fire called the #RecycleFire has burned 150 acres in Campo, prompting evacuation warnings for residents on North Campo Truck Trail.  The blaze is 0% contained.

The fire has caused closure of La Posta Road at State Route 94. The fire was reported at 10:24 a.m. in the 31000 block of highway 94.

SMALL FIRES DOUSED IN LA MESA AND RANCHO SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 5, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Two small brush fires in La Mesa and Rancho San Diego caused brief evacuations over the weekend but were doused with no structure damage or injuries.

On Saturday, June 2nd, a fire started in brush near an apartment complex at Jamacha Road and Fury Lane in unincorporated La Mesa shortly after 4 p.m.  About 40 residents were evacuated from two apartment buildings as a precaution. The fire was held to 2.5 acres by San Miguel Fire Departments. The Sheriff’s Bomb Arson detectives are investigating the cause.

DEL CERRO FIRE WAS STARTED BY JUVENILES, INVESTIGATORS FIND

 

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Last updated June 4, 2018 at 9 a.m.

June 3, 2018 (Del Cerro) – San Diego Fire investigators have concluded that a fire that scorched 38 acres in Del Cerro yesterday was started by 12-year-old children playing with a lighter. It has not yet been announced whther the juveniles will face charges, ECM news partner 10 News reports.

The fire reported at 4:09 p.m. in the Adobe Falls area of Del Cerro on Del Cerro Blvd. near Waring Road forced evacuation of 60 to 80 homes on Adobe Falls Road this afternoon and evening.

The fire started in a brushy canyon and swiftly threatened homes, burning east and to within several feet of Interstate 8, forcing closure of the freeway and harrowing moments for motorists.

ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson was driving toward the fire on I-8 and got cell phone photos (top left and lower left) of flames beside the freeway and a wall of smoke confronting motorists.  "The other driver and I didn't know what we were driving into, but we were not stopped from advancing," she reports, adding that orange and black embers and ashes were hitting her car. One ember came through her open window and burned her finger, she added.

STATE SENATE PASSES PACKAGE OF BILLS IN RESPONSE TO WILDFIRE DANGERS

 

East County News Service

June 1, 2018 (Sacramento) -- The California Senate this week passed a comprehensive package of bills in response to the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in our state, addressing last year’s horrific fires and taking steps to prevent future devastation. The measures will next move to the Assembly for consideration.

JULIAN FIRE CAPTAIN PUT ON LEAVE SAYS THERE’S NO ONE TO DRIVE THE FIRE TRUCK

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 31, 2018 (Julian) – The only on-duty firefighter authorized to drive a firetruck in Julian was placed on leave yesterday after a heated argument with the chief, ECM news partner 10 News reports.

Rick Marinelli, the departing Chief of the Julian-Cuyamaca Volunteer Fire District in process of being taken over by the County Fire Department run by Cal Fire, reportedly ordered Captain Dave Southcott escorted off the property by law enforcement. Firefighters told 10 News that Marinelli placed Southcutt and Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber on administration leave this week.

But no one else authorized to drive a fire truck was slated to work yesterday or today, leaving the public vulnerable should an emergency occur, firefighters told 10 News.

WHAT CAUSED THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES? DO DANGEROUS CONDITIONS EXIST THAT SHOULD BE FIXED?

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2018 (San Diego) – A report released May 25th by Cal Fire concludes that four of the devastating wildfires in Butte and Nevada Counties last October (La Porte, McCourtney, Lobo and Honey fires) were caused by trees coming into contact with power lines. In three of those fires, state laws requiring clearance around power lines were violated by the utilities, Cal Fire also found, though no violations were found in the La Porte blaze.

JULIAN FIREFIGHT: NEW CHIEF FACES LAWSUITS, PROTESTS OVER COUNTY 'HOSTILE TAKEOVER'

 

By Ken Stone

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

Photo: Jeremi Roesler, incoming Julian fire chief, spoke recently in Poway. Image via City of Poway

May 30, 2018 (Julian) - Update at 9 a.m. May 30, 2018: Unpaid Julian fire Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber says he was placed on administrative leave Tuesday morning by outgoing Fire Chief Rick Marinelli, and fire Capt. Dave Southcott was escorted off fire station property by a sheriff’s deputy Wednesday morning, leaving a volunteer crew without supervision. “This is their trying to decimate us from the top down,” said Van Bibber said. More details to come.

Jeremi Roesler takes over as Julian fire chief Friday, succeeding five-year Chief Rick Marinelli and inheriting a firestorm.

A battalion chief with Cal Fire’s Hemet-area Battalion 5, Roesler will be dealing with lawsuits, complaints of Brown Act violations, expected protests at the Julian fire station on state Route 79 and an angry citizenry that has petitioned twice to keep its last-in-the-county volunteer force.

ASSEMBLY UNANIMOUSLY PASSES GONZALEZ-FLETCHER BILL TO COMBAT BARK BEETLE SCOURGE RAVAGING LOCAL FORESTS

 

East County News Service

Photo:  Creative commons photo by Youli on Wikipedia

May 29, 2018 (Sacramento) -- The California State Assembly today unanimously passed a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego)  to help prevent future deadly wildfires caused when trees dry up into kindling after being killed by beetles that have become a scourge of the Southern California countryside.

STATE SENATE’S DEMOCRATS PASS BILL TO HELP CALIF. WILDFIRE SURVIVORS REBUILD

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 29, 2018 (Sacramento) – By a 24-11 vote, the California State Senate today passed Senate Bill 894, a bill to help wildfire survivors who were underinsured rebuild their lives after devastating disasters.  Republicans opposed the bill, while all Democrats (except one) voted in support.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: BRUSH FIRE SEASON IS HERE

 

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna 

May 28, 2018 (San Diego) -- This Memorial Day Weekend brought cool temperatures in Southern California.  with many areas experiencing light precipitation. What makes this unusual is the fact we had several brush fires throughout southern California. This is very strong evidence we are looking at another significant wildfire season this summer.

Pages