San Felipe Fire

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?

FIREFIGHTERS PULLED FROM MULTI-AGENCY DRILL HELP BATTLE 1,500 ACRE SAN FELIPE FIRE

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

Update May 24, 2013: 2 p.m. - The blaze is now 1800 acres.

Update May 24, 2013: Cal Fire held the blaze to 1500 overnight and now has 60% containment, with no threat to structures. One minor injury to a firefighter occurred.

May 23, 2013 (San Felipe)—Around 1 p.m., Cal Fire informed San Diegans through its Twitter account that it was conducting a controlled burn near the site of last year’s Ranchita Fire.Soon after, according to Cal Fire Deputy Chief Kely Zombro, “The winds shifted in an unprecedented way.”

The fire escaped the containment area, triggering mobilization of resources from across the region. As luck would have it, a multi-agency wildland training drill was being conducted at the Barona Reservation, where firefighters were swiftly shifted from the drill to the fire scene for a hands-on real-life exercise.