“Those power lines are going to be a detriment to the air attack program and the ground program…More country is going to burn. It’s obvious.” – Bob Robeson, retired Division Chief, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal-Fire)
By Miriam Raftery
June 1, 2010 (Lakeside) – Swift attacks by aerial drops and ground crews narrowly succeeded in saving threatened homes Saturday along Highway 67 in the Slaughterhouse Canyon area of Lakeside, where several small fires started by a vehicle's catalytic converted merged into a 30-acre brush fire. But ECM columnist Dennis Richardson, an eyewitness to the firefighting efforts, raises a troubling concern.
Fires were burning directly along the route of the Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines planned by SDG&E, he noted. (See map; fire was located between CP37-2 and CP31-2): http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/sunrise/pmr/sdge_final_pmr_fig38.pdf .
“The Cal-Fire aerial firefighters would not have been able to work this fire until it burned out from under the transmission wires,” Richardson stated. Saturday’s fire occurred in spring, when grasses were still green and winds were only 5 mph. Had it occurred in dry conditions during summer or fall, with even moderate winds, Richardson warned, “No telling how many homes and lives could have been lost.”