Ranchita

AS VOTERS PREPARE TO CAST BALLOTS ON FUTURE OF JULIAN AREA'S FIRE DEPARTMENT, COUNTY ANNOUNCES FULL STAFFING OF RANCHITA FIRE STATION

By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2019 (Ranchita) – For years, residents of Ranchita, a small town between Borrego Springs and Julian, have complained about prolonged periods of time when their fire station was unstaffed, leaving their community without rapid response to medical emergencies and fires. 

But now, just as area residents prepare to go to the polls in March to vote on a ballot initiative to determine the fate of the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Department, the County Fire Authority and Cal Fire have announced that they have upgraded staffing at the Ranchita Fire Station to permanent full-time staffing and are in the process of boosting paramedic services.  

JULIAN RESIDENTS AGAINST COUNTY TAKEOVER OF FIRE SERVICES WIN VICTORY IN COURT, BUT SETBACK AT LAFCO HEARING

 

 

Battle to save the county's last volunteer fire district now hinges on a protest process that could give voters the final say

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery, Editor, also contributed to this report.

 

Photo:  Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber, Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District

September 11, 2018 (Julian) -- A group of Julian area residents fighting fire axes-and-hoses against a county takeover of fire and medical first responder services won a firm victory last Thursday in Superior Court. Judge Timothy Taylor ruled to allow a ballot measure to fund future operations for the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD).

Backers of the initiative hoped the ruling would curtail the County of San Diego’s efforts to terminate the JCFPD, the region’s last all-volunteer fire department, and shift fire and ambulance services to the County Fire Authority (CFA) in conjunction with Cal Fire.

But despite Judge Taylor’s ruling, yesterday the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) voted 7-0 to dissolve the district. Residents could still block the takeover through a protest process that’s now been triggered.  Determined opponents of the takeover are gearing up for the fight, arguing that eliminating volunteer firefighters who live in the community will make the area less safe, not safer has had been promised by the CFA.

RANCHITA COMMUNITY GROUP WILL OPPOSE CELL TOWER AT HEARING ON FEBRUARY 20TH

                                                                                                                                 

By Ariele Johannson

NOTE: Check with the County of San Diego if you plan to attend the hearing at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 20th, in case the hearing is postponed. San Diego County Planning Commission meets in the COC Conference Center Hearing Room at 5520 Overland Avenue, San Diego. Phone: (858)-694-3816. Agenda changes must be made 72 hours before the hearing.

February 12, 2015 (Ranchita)—Visitors driving to the Anza-Borrego Desert  on Highways S2 and S22 pass through the small community of Ranchita. The unincorporated community of Ranchita is approximately 12 miles southwest of Borrego Springs at 4,065 feet elevation. A Telecommunication Facility Major Use permit application—APPLICATION #P-11-034—has been made by Vista Towers, LLC, a company that owns and manages a number of urban and suburban sites. Its website states,“Our specialty is developing multi-carrier facilities in underserved rural areas.” The proposed Verizon and AT&T cell towers would be visible from designated Scenic Highway S22. In fact, the proposed site is only 800’-1000’ from what is called the “view shed” on roads designated as scenic highways or byways. A portion of the Pacific Crest Trail goes through this area, also.

A hearing is scheduled in San Diego at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 20th to review the permit application made by Vista Towers, LLC, Wireless Site Solutions.

1800 ACRES OF WILDERNESS SCORCHED IN SAN FELIPE FIRE AMID GROWING QUESTIONS OVER OUT-OF-CONTROL BURN

 

 

Dozers ordered to Volcan Mountain

By Miriam Raftery

“Something will have gone out of us as people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed.” – Wallace Stegner

 

 

May 24, 2013 (Julian) Updated May 29, 2013 – The quote above is inscribed on the Volcan Mountain Foundation webpage, a site devoted to protecting the wilderness preserve. But today, as a raging wildfire that started as a controlled burn encroached, bulldozers were ordered to cut a firebreak on the crest of Volcan Mountain, ECM has learned.

Meanwhile an ECM investigation has raised growing questions over whether this fire could have been prevented.  Those questions include:

  • Why did Cal-Fire order a controlled burn in hot weather just hours after a high wind advisory had expired?
  • Why did the National Weather Service issue a spot fire weather report to Cal-Fire advising lower wind speeds when it has no wind monitor in the valley where the fire occurred?
  • Why was Volcan Mountain Foundatiion advised conditions were too dangerous for it to conduct pile burning, yet Cal-Fire conducted its own controlled burn?
  • Why did fire officials underestimate the potential size of this fire at 500 acres? (It has burned over 1,800 acres and is 60% contained.)
  • Should Cal-Fire’s plan to sharply increase the number of acres it clears statewide be axed given the consequences of this out-of-control burn?

RANCHITA RESIDENTS REJECT PROPOSED CELL TOWER

By Ariele Johannson

March 9, 2013 (Ranchita) -- For most people, their home is their sanctuary. Having a cell tower erected close to your home or in your neighborhood would be an issue. Yet, if you disagreed with a neighbor’s application to install a cell tower, ranging in height to 58’, would you be able to do anything about it? In the unincorporated community of Ranchita, which is 4,065 feet elevation and approximately 12 miles southwest of Borrego Springs, a group of residents is finding out. These residents have formed an organization, Ranchita Community Group for Responsible Cell Tower Siting. They have committed to proving to the county that the proposed location of a new Verizon cell tower is inappropriate. The construction company is Vista Towers, LLC. The county’s job is to review the application for the tower.

SNOW BLANKETS LOCAL MOUNTAINS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) ---Heavy snowfall has transformed our local mountains into winter wonderlands.  Mount Laguna received 10 inches of snowfall in the past 24 hours, followed by Palomar Mountain with 7 to 8 inches.  Cuyamaca also received significant snowfall, as this image sent in by reader Grace Schlesier shows. Frost and freezing temperatures are expected through Monday in inland valleys.

Other areas dusted in white include Julian (3-6 inches), Ranchita (5 inches), Santa  Ysabel (2 inches) and Pine Valley (2 inches) .  Snow even dipped down to Descanso and Campo, which received less than a half inch each.

FLASH FLOODS, MUD SLIDES FORECAST IN BURNED AREAS; EVACUATION ORDERS LIFTED IN FIRE ZONE

 

Update August 17, 2012:  All evacuation orders have been lifted.  The Lightning Complex Fires are now 85% contained at 22, 836 acres.  Flash floods and rainfall are forecast, with mud slides possible in recently burned areas.

 

FIREFIGHTERS MAKE A STAND AT RANCHITA AS SOME RESIDENTS DEFY EVACUATION ORDERS

Update August 16, 2012 8 a.m. - The fires are now 60% contained; acreage remains at 15,525.  Moderate fire growth will continue today and a return to monsoonal flow will begin this morning, says Roxanne Provaznik with Cal Fire. Direct fireline tactics remain difficult due to terrain. Three firefighters have been injured; cost to suppress the fire is up to $3,870,000.  Evacuations  and road closures remain in effect.

Update Augusut 15, 2012 9 p.m. -- Fires have scorned 15,525 acre and are 35% contained.  The two largest blazes are the Wilson Fire (8,000 acres and 50% contained) and the Stewart Fire (7,000 acres and 40% contained). 

Story and photos by Nadin Abbott

August 15, 2012 (Ranchita)-- The mood was tense as firefighters made a stand on Old Wilson Road and Montezuma Road this afternoon. Hand crews were about to do what Public Information Officer for Cal- Fire Tom Piranio called "burning the fuel back to the main fire."

FIRES TO MERGE OVERNIGHT: EVACUATIONS IN RANCHITA AND SAN FELIPE AREAS AMID "EXTREME" FIRE CONDITIONS

By Miriam Raftery

Update 11:15 p.m. -- Scanner traffic indicates fire jumped Grapevine Canyon. S-2 is closed.  A new evacuation site for large animals for Ranchita residents is established at Creek Hollow Ranch in Ramona, 25279 Creek Hollow Drive, per the County emergency website. (Love Ranch, named in an earlier post, is NOT being used for large animal evacuations.)

By Miriam Raftery

August 14, 2012 (San Diego's East County) 9 p.m. -- Multiple fires in the Vallecito Lightning Complex have scorched 5,925 acres, with only 10% contained, Cal Fire's Roxanne Provaznik reports.  Firefighters have 22.7 miles of containment line to construct.

EVACUATIONS ORDERED IN RANCHITA

Update 5:30 p.m. - Evacuations are now mandatory due to spread of the Wilson Fire toward Ranchita. Reverse 911 calls have been made to 228 homes.  An evacuation center has been set up by the Red Cross at Warner Springs High School, 30951 Highway 79.  A large animal evacuation station has been established at Love Acre Ranch, 35490 Highway 79, Warner springs.