Cedar Fire

CAL FIRE CHIEF BILL CLAYTON, HERO OF PARADISE AND CEDAR FIRES, PASSES AWAY

 

 

 

Services to honor legendary firefighter are set for February 10th

By Miriam Raftery

February 5, 2018 (San Diego) – William R. “Bill” Clayton led the firefight that saved Julian’s historic downtown during the 2003 Cedar Fire. Just days earlier, the Cal Fire Division Chief led efforts to save nearly 200 people trapped in the Valley View Casino during the Paradise Fire—after coming out of retirement shortly before those devastating firestorms. 

The most honored member of California’s state firefighting agency now known as Cal Fire, the division chief passed away in his sleep on Sunday, February 4th, of natural causes.

Clayton received the most awards of any firefighter in Cal Fire history, including twice earning the Medal of Valor, the state’s highest award for bravery.

CEDAR FIRE HISTORIC MONUMENT DEDICATION OCT. 24 IN LAKESIDE

 

East County News Service

October 8, 2015 (Lakeside)—A dedication ceremony for the newly completed Cedar Fire Historic Monument will be held on October 24 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Lakeside Fire Protection Office and Fire Station 2, 12216 Lakeside Avenue in Lakeside.

The monument includes a pocket park and honors first responders , those lost in the fire, as well as the strength and resilience of survivors.  Other elements are a map of the Cedar Fire, fire resistant plants and a symbolic red flag pole.  The monument has been designed as a place to inspire people to reflect, reconnect, and remember Lakeside’s struggle and rebirth after the Cedar Fire.

SCREENPLAY ALLEGES COVERUP OF CEDAR, WITCH CREEK AND PARADISE FIRES

 

East County News Service

July 28, 2015 (San Diego)—Circling the Wagons, a screenplay by Ed Clark, an electrical engineer and insurance investigator, alleges that an electrical design flaw caused the 2003 Cedar Fire as well as the 2007 Witch Creek and Paradise fires.  Moreover, he contends the flaws have not been fixed and public safety remains at risk.  San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) denies those claims.

SCRIPPS RANCH WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS FORUM SEPT. 26

 

East County News Service

July 19, 2015 (Scripps Ranch)—In 2003, the Cedar Fire destroyed over 200 homes in Scripps Ranch. To make sure residents are better prepared, the Scripps Ranch FireSafe Council will host a Scripps Ranch Wildfire Preparedness Forum on Saturday, September 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Marshall Middle School, 9700 Avenue of Nations in the Scripps Ranch community of San Diego.

NBC’S DATELINE TO AIR SPECIAL ON CEDAR FIRE ON SUNDAY, MARCH 8

 

Update: Video link to full episode of Dateline Escape: The Great California Fire that aired March 8:

http://www.nbc.com/dateline/video/dateline-escape-wildfires/2849489?onid=209511#vc209511=1

March 7, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – This Sunday at 9 p.m., NBC TV will air a special edition of Dateline called “Escape: The Great California Fire.” 

NBC Sports’ Josh Elliott will host the special hour with survivors of the Cedar Fire, who will chronicle their stories of survival before and after the 2003 Cedar Fire, the worst firestorm in California history.

CITY HELICOPTERS CAN NOW FIGHT FIRES ACROSS COUNTY AFTER DARK

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The Cedar Fire started at night in a remote East County canyon. With no helicopters capable of doing water drops after dark, it quickly raged out of control, becoming the worst firestorm in California history.

CAL FIRE: AN IN DEPTH INTERVIEW

 

By Nadin Abbott and Tom Abbott

Photos Tom Abbott and Nadin Abbott

Reprinted with permission from Reporting San Diego

November 2, 2014 (San Diego) - Reporting San Diego sat down with Captain Ken Bortisser, the Public Information Officer of the Monte Vista Unit. Monte Vista is the name of the San Diego Administrative CAL FIRE unit. We talked about fire issues.

COUNTY BOOSTS FIRE PROTECTION GOING INTO PEAK OF SEASON

 

County News Service

September 24, 2014 (San Diego) --A third firefighting helicopter, pre-positioned ground fire crews during red flag conditions, and contracting for night-flying operations throughout the County were among key upgrades approved by the County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The steps are aimed at boosting the region’s wildfire resources going into what is expected to be a highly dangerous peak wildfire season. The new permanent helicopter is expected to arrive next year, but the County has already leased a third helicopter until the end of October.

READER'S EDITORIAL: OPEN LETTER TO SUPERVIORS--ADOPT STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS ON FOREST CONSERVATION INITIATIVE LANDS

 

By Lou Russo



June 20, 2014 (Alpine)--I am a 10+ year resident of Alpine, an 8+ year member of the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) and a 6+ year member of the San Diego Rural Fire District (SDRF) Board of Directors.

HEARTLAND COALITION: YOUTH BUILD CHARTER HIGH HELPS STUDENTS GET DIPLOMAS--AND JOBS

 

By Leon Thompson



May 30, 2014 (Lakeside) -- “Heartland Charter School helped me get a job,”  said Andy Casteruita.  “I learned good work habits and leadership skills.” Andy is one of 49 students at the Heartland Coalition’s one year old Youth Build Charter High School with classes and an office on Orange Avenue in City Heights.

AMERICORP NCCC SETS SIGHTS ON FIRE PREVENTION IN EAST COUNTY

 

February 26, 2014 (Lakeside)-- Arriving at Blue Sky Ranch on January 16th, a team of 10 young adults from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) began a 9-week service project. The team is working with Lakeside River Park Conservancy, Blue Sky Ranch and Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary on various projects until their departure on March 20th.

READER'S EDITORIAL: MY WORLD IN SEPIA - REMEMBERING THE GREAT CEDAR FIRE OF 2013

 

 

By E.A. Barrera

November 27, 2013 (San Diego) – Even now, ten years since the flames have died and the air has cleared, the sight of it all still seems unreal - the earth outside my door in smolders and flames. Waking up that Sunday morning to the sounds of Santa Ana winds and an unpleasant sky, the Great Fires of 2003 were still a world away. They were still off in some remote back-country. Dreadful to consider - but none the less esoteric, and lacking any influence upon my Sunday morning routine.

OUT OF THE ASHES: SPECIAL REPORT ON THE 10 -YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE CEDAR FIRE

 

East County Magazine's special report on the Cedar Fire, originally aired on KNSJ, is now online. Listen here: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/pla2tx46jk/ECMShow11-1-13CedarFireSpecial-FINAL.mp3   (It may take a few moments to load, so please be patient). 

Our editor, Miriam Raftery, covered the Cedar Fire back in 2003 for several publications and our own publisher, Mark Hanson, lost his home in Lakeside's Wildcat Canyon. Thus we were able to reconnect with a broad network of contacts to create our special report, which includes some never before told stories and interviews with fire survivors, firefighters and elected officials including Cal Fire Captain Mike Mohler,   Lakeside resident Mark Hanson,  Lakeside Fire Chief Andy Parr,  burn survivor Rudy Reyes,  Supervisor Dianne Jacob, San Diego Councilman Mark Kersey, Santee Councilman Brian Jones, retired Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Ostrander, Kathy Kassell, cofounder of the Cedar Fire Rebuild Resource Group, and other eyewitness stories from California’s worst wildfire ever. 

We conclude with reflections on what’s changed since then, as well as a reading from The Fire Outside My Window by Lindra Millers Younger.

READER'S EDITORIAL: REMEMBERING A WORLD LOST IN THE CEDAR FIRE

 

By Cindy Buxton, Chair Forest Committee, San Diego Sierra Club

November 2, 2013 (Cleveland National Forest) – It’s been ten years since the Cedar Fire. Now it’s the beginning of Deer Season.  I put this video together years ago from a Power Point on the Cedar Fire from Cedar Gorge, in the first hours and the weeks and months to follow. For the milestone remembered this week, here's another moment, remembering that last night from a world we left behind.

HEAR OUR SPECIAL REPORT ON THE CEDAR FIRE: FRIDAY AT 5 PM, SATURDAY AT 9 AM ON KNSJ 89.1 FM

 

November 1, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Hear dramatic eyewitness accounts, some never before told, from survivors of the Cedar Fire, firefighters who battled the blaze and saved lives, and elected officials sharing their memories of the worst wildfire in California's history. We've spent weeks compiling these special interviews, reflecting on the past as well as how far we've come -- and what is still needed to keep us safe before the next firestorm strikes.

Our one-hour special report will air today at 5 p.m. on KNSJ 89.1 FM, and again tomorrow at 9 a.m.  Please tune in and sharet his information with your friends.

FLAMES THAT SCORCHED COMMUNITY 10 YEARS AGO HAVE FORGED STRENGTH IN SURVIVORS, THOUGH SCARS REMAIN

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos of anniversary event by Pam Wilmers and Miriam Raftery

October 27, 2013 (Lakeside) – “It started as a single flame in rugged, remote backcountry…The perfect alignment of extreme weather, fire weather and circumstances quickly transformed that flame into an enormously powerful and unstoppable force known as the Cedar Fire,” Lakeside firefighter Chuck Palmore said at yesterday’s 10-year anniversary of the Cedar Fire commemoration at the Lakeside Fire Station.  The Cedar Fire touched the lives of thousands of people, he noted. “A decade later, we gather together here today to reflect and reconnect, to share with each other our journey that has taken us from victim to survivor to thriver.”

The Cedar Fire remains the worst wildfire in California's history in size (280,278 acres, or 438 square miles), buildings destroyed (2,820, including over 2,200 homes), and people killed(15). Of those who lost homes, most have rebuilt or moved on.  But for the families of those who perished, the scars will forever remain. 

Molly Sloan lost her daughter, a granddaughter, and her daughter-in-law.  She and other family members came to this memorial service to display a photo montage in tribute to their loved ones’ memories.

CEDAR FIRE REMEMBERED AT SCRIPPS RANCH

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

October 25, 2013 (San Diego)—Today political leaders from San Diego City and the County came together with fire officials to remember the 2003 Cedar Fire. The press conference served as both a status report on our region’s ability to respond to the next emergency, as well as a memorial for the 15 San Diegans who died during the firestorm.

10 YEARS AFTER…THE CEDAR FIRE COMMUNITY RECONNECTS AND REFLECTS OCT. 26 IN LAKESIDE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 28, 2013 (Lakeside) – On the tenth anniversary of the Cedar Fire, community leaders and fire survivors will gather to dedicate a historic memorial commemorating the worst wildfire in California history.  The ceremony will take place on October 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.at River Park Fire Station #2, 12216 Lakeside Avene in Lakeside, a community that suffered devastating losses when the firestorm trapped people caught unaware of the inferno raging during the fire's first night.

The event will also honor first responders and celebrate fire survivor families’ lifelong connection as guests pause to “reflect, remember and reconnect.”  There will be exhibits, disaster prevention program information, book signings by Sandra Younger, author of The Fire Outside My Window, a VFW band, food and beverages, a moment of remembrance, and appreciation of community support.

Speakers will include Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Fire Chief Andy Parr, David Kassel from the Cedar Fire Rebuilding Resource Group, and Fire Chief Andy Parr. Presentations will be made from the offices of Senator Joel Anderson, Assemblyman Brian Jones, and Congressman Duncan Hunter.

CREST COMMUNITY HOLDS MEMORIAL, TREE PLANTING FOR CEDAR FIRE ANNIVERSARY OCT. 26

 

Commemoration of the 2003 Cedar Fire ten-year anniversary will take place October 26 from 1-4 pm at the Crest Clubhouse in Crest.

The Crest Community Association is planning to mark the occasion with a commemorative event that will bring the community together to share their experience, thank those who helped Crest get back on its feet, and to learn how to be more prepared for any natural disaster.

RIM FIRE IN YOSEMITE NOW 4TH WORST IN STATE’S HISTORY, BUT SAN DIEGO FIRESTORMS' DEVASTATING TOLL NOT LIKELY TO BE TOPPED

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 1, 2013 (Yosemite) --The Rim Fire burning in Yosemite National Park has charred over 225,000 acres. Smoke this weekend drafted into Yosemite Valley as more than 5,000 firefighters continue to battle the blaze. Investigators have not yet determined the cause, but illegal marijuana growing operations are suspected.  The fire is 45 percent contained, but thousands of homes remain threatened and 11 homes have burned, along with the Berkeley Tuolumne Camp.  (For details, see: http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/pub/cdf/images/incidentfile889_1195.pdf

Cal Fire now ranks the Rim Fire as the fourth worst wildfire in California history, based on acreage burned nearly 225,000 acres.  The fire could potentially surpass the 2003 Cedar Fire, which burned over 273,000 acres and remains our state’s worst wildfire ever in sheer size. But The Rim Fire is not likely to surpass the Cedar Fire in two other measurements of its disastrous scale.  The Cedar Fire still holds the record of causing the most deaths—14, and burning the most structures – 2,820.  Moreover, the collective toll of the 2007 wildfires here was even larger.

INTO THE ASHES: RESIDENTS RETURN TO MOUNT LAGUNA

 

By Nadin Abbott

July 11, 2013 (Mount Laguna) –Amid the devastation on Mount Laguna, one ironic symbol stands out: a flag flying at half-mast.  Flown to honor the Prescott Arizona Hot Shot crew that perished at the Yarnell fire, the flag at the Al Bahr Shrine Camp survived the Chariot blaze, while much of the camp was reduced to ashes.

As of 6 p.m. last night, Sunrise Highway was reopened at both old Highway 80 and Highway 79, though it remained shut down from Los Huecos Road  (milepost 24.5) in Mt  Laguna, to Kwaaymii Point ( milepost 30).  The fire has burned over 7,000 acres and is 70 percent contained.

First responders assess the damage

“It makes me very sad,” Lieutenant Rose Kurupas with the San Diego Sheriff’s office said of the devastation.  But she resolved, “These are good people, they’ll rebuild. You’ll see, it will be better than ever.”

ELDERLY CEDAR FIRE SURVIVORS FOUND LIVING IN TENTS AMID LAKESIDE POT FARM



June 10, 2013 (Lakeside) – Sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant in the 12000 block of Old Barona Road in Lakeside on June 5 and found a large marijuana cultivation, Sgt. Craig Johnson reports.

During the search, two women, ages 83 and 61, were detained but not arrested. The house on the property had been burned down during the Cedar fires and had not been rebuilt. The women were living in tents on the property.

UNDERSHERIFF JIM COOKE TO RETIRE; 31-YEAR CAREER INCLUDING MANY HIGH-PROFILE EAST COUNTY CASES

 
November 18, 2011 (Lakeside) --After 31 years of service to San Diego County, Undersheriff Jim Cooke is calling it a career. His  last day on the job is Friday, December 2. Assistant Sheriff Ed Prendergast is taking his place.

 
Cooke’s career including service in many high-profile East County incidents ranging from the Santana and Granite Hills high school shootings to the Cedar Fire.

CEDAR FIRE SURVIVOR NEEDS INFO ON ALL-STEEL HOUSES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY TO SATISFY LENDER REQUIREMENTS

October 9, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – East County Magazine has received the following request from a reader who is having trouble obtaining refinancing on a construction loan to rebuild her home destroyed in the Cedar Fire.

 

BOOK REVIEW: CIRCLE THE WAGONS SDG&E REKINDLES DEBATE OVER UTILITY LINES' ROLE IN LOCAL WILDFIRES

Circle The Wagons SDG&E: The Perfect Corporate Cover Up, By Ed Clark (Self-Published, Huntington Beach, CA, 2010, 30 pages.)

"Updated Version July 30, 2015"

With Cause of Witch Creek Fire Video

Book Review: By Dennis Moore

ASSEMBLY CANDIDATE MARK HANSON REVEALS COMMITMENTS TO BRING 32 GREEN MANUFACTURING COMPANIES TO CALIFORNIA & CREATE 2,200 JOBS

 

New jobs include many slated for East County;

Cedar Fire survivor also calls for stronger fire protection and improved emergency notification in region

By Miriam Raftery
 

WHISTLEBLOWER: SDG&E QUIETLY CHANGED OUT DESIGN FLAW AT SITE OF PARADISE FIRE

 

 

Electrical expert asks if same changes have been made along other

lines he identified as fire risks; SDG&E does not

respond to inquiries

 

June 14, 2010 (San Diego) – Back in February 2009, East County Magazine published claims by electrical transmission expert Ed Clark, who contended that faulty power line installations caused the Paradise, Witch and Cedar Fires. Clark and two other experts consulted by ECM contended that SDG&E installations of two down-guy wires connected by a single bolt were dangerous.

 

Clark, who has headed up power line installations for Southern California Edison and served as an expert witness for SDG&E, argued that SDG&E's installations were also illegal, violating a state rule requiring 12 inches of separation on poles. He provided evidence of arcing including charred, black marks on anchor bolts at the base of the pole where the 2003 Paradise fire began.

BITTERSWEET REMEMBRANCE: A CEDAR FIRE SURVIVOR'S ANNIVERSARY ESSAY

An essay by Vickie Bradeen

 

October 26, 2003 (San Diego's East County)--Today is a day of bittersweet remembrance of October 26, 2003, when I watched the home I grew up in, my parents home of 34 yrs at the time, burn completely to the ground as the powerful, almost angry Cedar Fire consumed every inch of it right before my eyes.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER STEVE POIZNER ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR ANDERSON FIRE-RELIEF LEGISLATION; URGES SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS TO BE PREPARED FOR WILDFIRES

May 26, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced support of AB 157, authored by Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon). Poizner also offered disaster preparation tips for all San Diego residents, including advice for preparing a home inventory for insurance purposes.

 

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