Julian fire

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS: JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE CHIEF, PARAMEDIC AND FIRE SURVIVOR SPEAK OUT TO SAVE THEIR FIRE DEPARTMENT

 

"Since the inception of the San Diego County Fire Department in 2008, this county has lost over 400 volunteer firefighters, boots on the ground that were guarding their homefront...That's sad." -- JCFPD Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber

“Ranchita in the month of June this year was covered six days. That’s all.” – Karen Kiefer, JCFPD firefighter-paramedic, on services after the County Fire Authority began its takeover of the volunteer department  June 1st.

"They came and found us...it was dark, the embers were everywhere...the roof was on fire," Lori Foss says of JCFPD volunteer firefighters who saved her life and her home during the 2007 Witch Fire

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District firefighter-paramedic Karen Kiefer and Chief Mike Van Bibber

 

October 11, 2018 (Julian) – The battle to save the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District, the last volunteer fire district in San Diego County, has reached a heated pitch. Residents are gathering signatures seeking to block the takeover by the County Fire Authority approved by the Local Agency Formation Commission in September, before an October 16th public protest meeting with LAFCO.

On our radio show on KNSJ, East County Magazine interviewed the JCFPD battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber, along with firefighter-paramedic and former emergency medical services director Karen Kiefer, a well as Lori Foss, who lost her home in the 2003 Cedar Fire and had her home and family saved in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire by Julian’s volunteer firefighters. They believe that the takeover will leave Julian and surrounding areas less safe due to longer response times by engines coming from farther away, with no “home team” to respond quickly to medical emergencies, car accidents or structure fires.  Click the audio link to hear the full interview, or scroll down to read highlights.

Audio: 

Interview with JCFPD Chief Mike Van Bibber, firefighter-paramedic Karen Kiefer and fire survivor Lori Foss

BRUSH FIRE NEAR VOLCAN MOUNTAIN-RANCHITA AREA; PLANE REPORTED DOWN

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

 

Update May 11, 2018 12:45 p.m.: Crews have found wreckage of an airplane but have not been able to identify the plane, nor whoever was aboard.  Anyone with information is asked to notify the Sheriff.

Update May 11, 2018 10 a.m.:  Morning firefighting crews are nearing the site; the fire is now 10 acres, Cal Fire reports.

Update: 9:55 p.m. from Cal Fire: Incident commander reports the fire is 3 to 4 acres, burning at a slow rate of spread on the north side of Volcan Mountain. There are no homes in the area of the .

May 10, 2018 (Ranchita/Julian) -- Cal Fire confirms that a brush fire is burning near Volcan Mountain in steep, inaccessible terrain tonight.  The Sheriff's Department has confirmed to ECM news partner 10 News that deputies can see flames near Ranchita, near Volcan Mountain, between Warner Springs adn Borrego.  A plane has been reported down, according to HAM radio reports and calls to authorities though the crash is not yet confirmed.

Brett Staulbaum, a ham radio operator in Shelter Valley, relayed this message to ECM warning of a possible risk to the nearby Shelter Valley area:

RED FLAG WARNING ISSUED

 

A red flag warning for fire danger is now in effect through Wednesday at 6 p.m. in San Diego’s mountain and inland region. Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 80 miles per hour are forecast.

SDG&E shut off power proactively due to the high winds and fire danger Monday night, leaving about 90 residents in Descanso, Cuyamaca and Boulder Creek without power, ABC 10 News reports. Restoration is expected this morning.

RAIN LENDS HAND TO FIREFIGHTERS IN JULIAN

 

Update July 6: The fire is now 100% contained, Cal Fire confirms.

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2014 (Julian)—Firefighters have held the Banner Fire at 217 acres, the same size as Wednesday night. The blaze that destroyed two homes is now 90% contained, Cal Fire reports.

For Julian residents, the fire brought tense moments.  Rosemary Keane watched as the blaze encroached close to her new home under construction in Julian Estates (photos, left and below).

Yesterday brought storm cells—and rain, as several relieved residents posted on the Julian Connection site on Facebook.  “Who did the rain dance?” asked Joshua Guffey.

BANNER FIRE SURVIVOR SPEAKS OUT ON FIRE THAT DESTROYED HIS HOME

 

 

July 4, 2014 (Julian)--John Raifsnider tells 10 News, ECM’s news partner, how he lost his home in the Banner Fire yesterday in Julian--and filmed its destruction on his i-Pad. The fire was so intense that not even cleared defensible space could stop the blaze.  View video:

www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUQv44qD9R5Ae6Z3iUeZm7iQ&v=MS0-IjmqgFs&feature=player_detailpage

BRUSH FIRE CANCELS FOURTH OF JULY PARADE IN JULIAN

Photo, left:  Cal Fire Chief Joe Rinaldi discusses need to cancel parade for safety's sake.

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos Tom and Nadin Abbott

July 4, 2014 (Julian) The Fourth of July parade was an unintended victim  of the so called “Banner Fire” east of Julian, which destroyed two homes and injured a firefighter. The fire started at around noon and by this morning it has charred 217 acres, with 40 percent containment according to Captain Ken Bortisser of CAL FIRE.

The following road closures remain in effect: State Route 78 at Manzanita Drive, and  Manzanita Drive at Lakeview Drive.

The decision to cancel the parade, announced late yesterday by the California Highway Patrol and CAL FIRE, sparked consternation among some residents.

FIRE THREATENS 200 HOMES IN JULIAN AREA: EVACUATIONS IN PROGRESS

 

 

Update 7:30 p.m.  The fire has charred 150 acres and burned two homes.  Residents are now being allowed to return home, with ID.  The Julian 4th of July Parade has been cancelled, CHP advises,  though other activities including the American Legion BBQ will go on.

Update 12:35 p.m.:  This fire is now 75-100 acres in the Julian area, Air Attack estimates, with potential for extended attack. Two structures are reportedly damaged. Evacuations now include Kenwood and Whispering Pines. Temperature is 90 with 14% humidity and possibility of thundershowers tomorrow. 

Photo by Daren Sefcik, shot from Ranchita

July 3, 2014 (Julian) -- A brush fire burning along Banner Grade west of Julian has charred an estimated 30-40 acres or more. The Whispering Pines area is being evacuated with 200 homes there threatened, Cal Fire confirms shortly after noon today. 

The Julian High School has been set up as an evacuation area.

If you have photos or details on this fire or others, please send to editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

THE CHAPARRAL REBELLION: “NEVER GIVE IN?” OR “WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”

 

 

 

By David Ross

A special joint investigation by East County Magazine and Valley Center Press into the county takeover of rural fire districts

PART II in a series

October 3, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Recently a volunteer fire chief in the Backcountry wrote this (pun intended) inflammatory conclusion about the level of preparedness at his rural department: “The _____ currently is at a dangerously low staffing level that is putting current firefighters, residents and visitors in danger.”

The name of the organization is left out (it is revealed later below), because it is a generic statement that might very easily apply to several communities in San Diego County’s rural unincorporated area.

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.

CAL FIRE TO HOLD CONTROLLED BURN WEDNESDAY IN CUYAMACA AREA

November 14, 2012 (Cuyamaca)  -- Due to a change in weather, this week’s controlled burn planned for McCain Valley was cancelled. Instead, Cal-Fire will hold a prescribed burn on Wednesday, November 15 in the Middle Peak area off Highway 79 and Mild Ranch Road in the Cuyamaca area.  Smoke will be visible from the Julian and surrounding areas, Mike Mohler at Cal-Fire advises.

DOZENS OF LIGHTNING STRIKES SPARK FIRES AS POWER OUTAGES HIT MOUNTAIN AREAS

Update August 11 5:30 p.m. - More than 500 lightning strikes have been reported countywide. 

ECM reader Geoffrey Thomas sent us this reassuring eyewitness account from Chihuahua Valley: "Have surveyed the valley from a high vantage point and there is no smoke evident, especially at 30800 Chihuahua Valley Rd...We received and still are, multiple lightning strikes but due to volume of rain 0.2 inches in the last hour there doesn't appear to be anything igniting...There are no aircraft at all due to the severe thunder cells... Everything is very wet up here!"

BANNER FIRE SWELLS TO 2,500 ACRES; NO STRUCTURES LOST

Update May 25, 2012-7:45 a.m. - The fire is now 2,500 acres and 20% contained.  There have been no reported injuries to firefighters and no structures were damaged or destroyed.  

Cal-Fire reports there are currently 36 engines, 17 fire crews, 3 bulldozers, 9 water tenders, 4 helicopters and 6 airtankers (393 firefighters).  Shelter Valley residents have been allowed to return home.

COUNTY ANNOUNCES PILE BURNS IN JULIAN AREA FOR JANUARY THROUGH MAY

 

January 5, 2011 (Julian)--The San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation will be conducting weekday pile burns in January through May, weather permitting, at Santa Ysabel East Preserve, Volcan Mountain Preserve and William Heise County Park.

The pile burns — in which piles of cleared brush and other cut vegetation are burned — will reduce the fire hazard of excess vegetation fuels.

EVACUATION ADVISORIES LIFTED IN GREAT FIRE NEAR JULIAN

 

October 3, 2011 (Julian) 1:25 p.m. – All evacuation advisories have been lifted in the Julian area, where the Great Fire is 40% contained. Road closures have also been lifted, however the Pacific Crest Trail in the fire affected areas remains closed, as well as Rodriguez Truck Trail.

 

MORE THAN A THOUSAND FIREFIGHTERS BATTLING GREAT FIRE; BLAZE BURNING N ANZA BORREGO STATE PARK AND FEDERAL FOREST LANDS

 

October 2, 2011 (Borrego) – Cal Fire reports  that the Great Fire, which started south of 78 near Julian yesterday (see ECM report ), has grown to 2,000 acres and is only 5% contained, Cal Fire spokesoperson Roxanne Provaznik confirms. 

 

EVACUATION ADVISIORY ISSUED FOR 1,100 HOMES IN JULIAN AREA DUE TO WILDFIRE

 

 Update October 2, 2011 6:45 p.m. --The Great Fire is 20 percent contained and holding at 2,000 acres. Currently there are 119 engines, 52 fire crews, eight bulldozers, and 21 water tenders at the scene, a total of 1,486 firefighters. Fire crews have four miles of containment line to construct; cost to fight the fire is estimated at $650,000, said Roxanne Provaznik at Cal-Fire. 

2 INJURED IN JULIAN HOUSE FIRE

February 22, 2011 (Julian) – An explosion possibly caused by a faulty installation of a clothes dryer caused a fire reported at 6:32 p.m. at a home at 3208 Salton Vistas Drive in Julian.

“We had two injuries,” Cal-Fire Captain Mike Mohler informed ECM. “We had one male in his 60s with burns and one female also in her 60s with injuries from a collapse.”

110 ACRE FIRE BURNING NEAR JULIAN

 


East County News Service

August 1, 2010 (Julian) – Over 120 firefighters have worked through the night battling the Scissors Fire, which is now 110 acres. Full containment is expected by tonight, said Cal-Fire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler. The fire is burning along State Route 2 in the Scissors Crossing area, about 10 miles northeast of Julian.

100-ACRE BRUSH FIRE BURNING EAST OF JULIAN

 

Update June 17 10 am - The Narrows Fire is now 60% contained, with full containment expected by noon today, according to Chief Schuler.

JUNE 16, 2010 (Julian) – A 100 acre brush fire burning east of Julian is 50% contained, Cal-Fire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler has informed East County Magazine. The fire started at Highway 78 and Scissors Crossing, east of S2 and north of Shelter Valley and has burned acreage on both sides of 78.

TWO DEAD IN HOUSE FIRE NEAR JULIAN

 

 

Update 3 p.m. Cal-Fire reports that both fatalities were visitors to the home. Four other people escaped the fire, including one female who was transported to an emegency facility for treatment of smoke inhalation.

May 31, 2010 (Shelter Valley) – A modular home fire iat 7523 Gunslinger Trail in Shelter Valley near Julian overnight has resulted in two fatalities, the County Coroner's office reports. “When firefighters arrived, the modular home was fully involved,” said Cal-Fire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler.