Valley Fire

VALLEY FIRE SURVIVORS MAY APPLY FOR FEDERAL AID TO HELP WITH LOSSES

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  damage assessor surveys losses from the Valley Fire.

October 23, 2020 (Alpine) - Homeowners or renters affected by the Valley Fire in September can now apply for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant through Dec. 15. The grants are designed to help with serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance such as rent, home repair or replacement, medical or dental costs, transportation or other personal property losses.


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PRICE GOUGING A CRIME AFTER VALLEY FIRE

 
By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
September 18, 2020 (Eastern San Diego County) - San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan is warning businesses and scammers not to take advantage of consumers by price gouging during a state of an emergency – doing so can end in prosecution.
 
As a result of the devastating Valley fire in the eastern part of San Diego County, Governor Gavin Newsom and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors declared a state of emergency in San Diego County on September 6. During a declared state of emergency, it is illegal for a business to increase its prices for essential goods or services by more than 10 percent, unless they can show their own costs have been increased.
 
“Wildfires leave a devastating effect on many of our neighbors and we want to send a clear message that we will not tolerate any unlawful activity by a greedy businesses, contractors or scammers who would seek to financially exploit victims of wildfires,” Stephan said. “Price gouging and unlicensed contracting during a state of emergency is not only a crime, it also can further victimize someone who may have lost everything in a wildfire.”

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COUNTY OPENS EROSION CONTROL CENTER FOR VALLEY FIRE BUSINESSES, RESIDENTS

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

September 17, 2020 (Alpine) - The County has opened a new erosion control center in Alpine Thursday to help businesses and homeowners in the areas burned by the Valley Fire by giving out free sandbags, fiber rolls and items to stabilize properties before winter rains arrive.


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ALL EVACUATION ORDERS, WARNINGS AND ROAD CLOSURES LIFTED FOR VALLEY FIRE

 

Update September 14, 2020:  Containment is now at 87%.

Update September 13, 2020:  Containment is now at 79%.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Walter Schlunegger

September 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – all evacuation orders, evacuations and road closures have been lifted in the Valley Fire, allowing residents to go home.

The last remaining temporary evacuation point at Steele Canyon High School is also closed.

The Valley Fire is now 55% contained, holding at 17,665 acres as ground crews continue working to suppress fire growth. Lighter wins and higher humidity are expected to limit fire growth overnight.

Residents in need of diaster assistance can visit www.SDCountyRecovery.com or cal 858-715-2200.


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VALLEY FIRE IS 32% CONTAINED, LOSSES CLIMB TO 30 HOMES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ryan Grothe

September 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – “Due to the fire retardant that was laid down on Tuesday, and the strong air support yesterday, resources were successful in keeping the fire from getting established and pushing into more populated areas to the west,” according to a release this morning from Cal Fire.

Firefighters held the Valley Fire to 17,665 acres It is now 32% contained, with 884 personnel assigned to battle the blaze. However the number of homes burn has risen to 30, with 29 other structures destroyed.

Today, crews are constructing and strengthening hand and dozer lines and are focused on structure preparation and defense to values at risk. A very dry air mass will be over the area for the forseeable future with a gradual warming trend through the weekend, according to Cal Fire.


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SOME EVACUATED RESIDENTS ALLOWED TO RETURN HOME; 26 HOMES BURNED, CONTAINMENT NOW 27 PERCENT

New fire burning in Mexico, a half mile south of the border

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Barry Jantz: Valley Fire earlier this week, viewed from Jamul

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The Valley Fire is now 27% contained as firefighters held it to 17,665 acres today after a night of Santa Ana winds.  Some evacuation orders have been reduced to evacuation warnings tonight, enabling residents evacuated from the Valley Fire to return home with proof of residence in these areas:

  • Corte Madera Ranch
  • Barrett Dam
  • All areas accessible from Lawson Valley Rd. to the east, with the exception of Forest Park Rd.
  • North side of Japatul Rd. between Sycuan Truck Trail and Hidden Glen Rd.

All other evacuation orders remain in effect.  See the evacuation map for the evacuation order and evacuation warning locations.

Cleveland National Forest remains under an Emergency Forest Closure Order to protect natural resources and safety of the public and firefighters.

An evacuation warning is issued when there is a plausible threat of fire activity to increase and your home may be in the affected area. Returning residents should be aware that there may be traffic interruptions due to fire crews and utility workers.

“We lucked out with the winds, which arrived later than expected and went away earlier than expected,  Captain Thomas Shoots, public information officer with Cal Fire, told ECM. Firefighters quickly doused a new fire in Boulevard’s Jewel Valley, which burned an acre or two.  An additional fire is burning about a half mile south of the border in Mexico, which Cal Fire is monitoring, he said.


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FIRE DAMAGES ELECTRIC SYSTEM: SOME RESIDENTS COULD BE WITHOUT POWER FOR A WEEK OR MORE

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The Valley Fire has damaged the electric system across numerous rural communities that may be without power for days. Some communities left sweltering without power since Sept. 5 may not have power restored until Sept. 15 in order to repair fire damage. An additional circuit sustained weather damage to equipment.

The prolonged outage includes some circuits in Alpine, Barrett Lake, Buckman Springs, Campo, Dehesa, Dulzura, Jamul, Lyons Valley, Morena Village,  Potrero, and Rancho Palo Verde. With the 17,000 acre wildfire still burning and Santa Ana winds forecast tonight, the outages imperil residents ability to receive emergency notifications, open electric garage doors to evacuate, or pump water to drink or fight spot fires, unless they own generators.

SDG&E has alerted customers and posted estimated dates of power restoration on its outage webpage at https://www.sdge.com/residential/customer-service/outage-center/outage-map. The communities and circuits impacted are listed below. You can find your circuit on your SDG&E bill.


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POTENTIAL FOR “DANGEROUS SITUATION” TONIGHT AS HIGH WINDS FORECAST TO FAN VALLEY FIRE WESTWARD

 

Update 8:37 p.m.: The fire is now 11% contained and has burned 17,565 acres.  20 habitable structures have been destroyed and 9 more homes damaged; 25 outbuildings have also been lost.

EVACUATION ORDERS:

Lawson Valley • Japatul Valley • Corte Madera Ranch • Lyons Valley • Carveacre • WiseCarver

EVACUATION WARNINGS:

Pine Valley • Descanso • Alpine • Viejas • Dulzura • Barrett Junction • Potrero

ROAD CLOSURES:

Japatul Rd. & Lyons Valley Rd./Japatul Rd. • Japatul Rd @ Tavern Rd/Dehesa Rd • Lyons Valley Rd & Honey Springs Rd •

Wisecarver Lane @ Wisecarver Truck Trail • Skyline Truck Trail & Lawson Valley • Japatul Rd at Via Asoleado (also at Sequan Truck Trail) • Corral Canyon at Buckman Springs (Buckman Springs is open) • High Glen Rd • Hidden Glen Rd

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Henri Migala and Miriam Raftery

El Capitan High School in Lakeside opened as new shelter for evacuees

Photo, left by Henri Migala: Cal Fire/County Fire Chief Tony Mecham briefs Supervisor Dianne Jacob and supervisorial candidate Steve Vaus after press conference today at Viejas

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – At a press conference today held at the Viejas events center in Alpine, fire chiefs and county officials warned the public that Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 50 miles an hour are forecast to hit starting at 8 p.m. tonight – with the strongest winds in the middle of the night. Though firefighters have been working tirelessly battling blames and bulldozing containment lines, prioritizing the fire’s western flank, leaders warn that the winds will fan the fire westward towards Jamul and San Diego.

“The potential is out there for a very dangerous situation,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob (photo, left), who added that she hopes and prays we don’t see another major firestorm like the destructive Laguna fire in 1970, Cedar Fire in 2003 or the 2007 firestorms.


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VALLEY FIRE THREATENS CORTE MADERA, PINE VALLEY AS FIRE BURNS EASTWARD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ryan Grothe: 757 air tanker drops fire retardant on Valley Fire

September 7, 2020  (San Diego’s East County) – On the third night of the Valley Fire, the wind-driven fire continues to spread rapidly, burning eastward towards communication towers at Mt. Pinos Mountain and the community of Corte Madera.  View real-time mapping


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SAN DIEGO FOUNDATION ACTIVATES REGIONAL DISASTER FUND TO SUPPORT VALLEY WILDFIRE RESPONSE AND RECOVERY; DONATIONS SOUGHT

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 7, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Foundation today activated the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund to collect and manage charitable funds for response and recovery from the Valley Wildfire currently impacting the Japatul Valley, Carveacre, Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley and Deerhorn Valley in San Diego’s East County. Donations can be made online at SDFoundation.org/DisasterFund.


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VALLEY FIRE THREATENS SUNRISE POWERLINK AND WATER SUPPLIES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Lakeside Fire:  Firefighters battle Valley Fire for a second sleepless night amid record-breaking heat.

September 6, 2020, 9:30 p.m. (San Diego’s East County) – As firefighters battle the Valley Fire for a second sleepless night, the blaze has burned 9,850 acres, more than doubling since early this morning. It remains only  1% contained, with evacuation that now range south to the border, north past I-8 and Pine Valley, east to Campo, and as far west as portions of Jamul.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for San Diego County.  Tonight, the fire is in the area of Lawson Valley and Carveacre, threatening Sunrise Powerlink, the major electricity supplier for most of our region, and Loveland Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to 191,000 residents, Cleveland National Forest reports.

An evacuation order is in place for Barrett Lake Dam. Evacuation warnings have been issued for Lake Morena, Dulzura, Dog Patch, Potrero, Campo, Honey Springs, Barrett Junction, Deerhorn Valley, Corte Madera, Pine Valley, and the area from Lyon Valley/Japatul Road to Interstate 8.

With power out in some areas, residents may be unable to receive evacuation calls.  Some residents have asked that if you receive an evacuation call or flee due to encroaching flames during the night, please honk your horn as you leave to alert as many neighbors as possible.


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23 MAJOR FIRES BURNING ACROSS CALIFORNIA, INCLUDING NEW WILDFIRE IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: El Dorado Fire, courtesy of San Bernardino National Forest via Twitter

September 6, 2020 (San Diego) – Major new wildfires ignited yesterday, forcing evacuations in San Diego and neighboring San Bernadino counties as well as Fresno County. even as firefighters continue battling lightning complex fires elsewhere in the state. As of this morning, there are over 14,800 firefighters battling 23 major fires and lightning complexes in California.  View map of major wildfires statewide: https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/

The new fires yesterday include the Valley Fire in San Diego County's Japatul, Carveacre and Lawson Valley areas that destroyed 10 homes overnight, as well as the El Dorado Fire east of San Bernadino, which has torched 2,727 acres in the Yucaipa area and is 5% contained. The San Bernardino National Forest feed on Twitter reports 300 foot high flames.

Since the lightning siege that started on Saturday, August 15, 2020, there have been nearly 14,000 lightning strikes. During this time-period, there have been more than 900 new wildfires, which have now burned over 1.6 million acres. There have been 8 fatalities and nearly 3,300 structures destroyed.


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HOMES LOST OVERNIGHT AS VALLEY FIRE SWELLS TO 4,000 ACRES

 

Update 6:23 p.m. 9/7:  The fire is now 17,345 acres and 3% contained.

Update 9:20 p.m.:  The fire is now 9,850 acres and 1% contained, 11 structures destroyed. Please see updated evacuation map from County of San Diego at sdcountyemergency.com and never hesitate to evacuate if you do not feel safe.

Update 6:55 p.m.   Valley Fire Road Closures are in effect, per CHP tonight:

  • Japatul Road at Lyons Valley Rd/Japatual Valley Road
  • Japatul Road at Tavern Road/Dehesa Road
  • Lyons Valley Road at Honey Springs Road
  • Wisecarver Lane at Wisecarver Truck Trail
  • Skyline Truck Trail and Lawson Valley

Update 4:22 p.m.  The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has issued an evacuation warning for the areas of SR94/Marron Valley Rd and Lyons Valley Rd areas out to Morena Reservoir. Please see the Emergency Map for updated areas that are impacted.

Update 3:35 p.m.  New evacuation advisories include Potrero, Tecate, Barrett Junction and Dulzura. View map here: https://www.sdcountyemergency.com/content/oesemergency/en-us/maps.html.

Per Cal Fire just now:  The fire is now 5,350 acres and is 1% contained, burning at a critical/dangerous rate of spread. Structures are being threatened in Carveacre, Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley, Deer Horn Valley and Sycuan Indian Reservation. sdcountyemergency.com

Per Pulsepoint:  #ValleyFire is making a run for Barrett Lake, Lake Morena, and Hauser Canyon.

New road closures:  Lawson Valley Rd closed at Skyline TT and Rudnick Dr.   Japatul Rd closed from Dehesa to Lyons Valley Rd   Lyons Valley Rd closed from Japatul Rd to Honey Springs Rd

Update 2 p.m.:  The Valley Fire temporary evacuation point for large animals is the County Animal Services South Shelter located at 5821 Sweetwater Road in Bonita. Call (619) 236-2341.  The evacuation center at Joan MacQueen Middle Schoolm 2001 Tavern Rd., Alpine has reopened. 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, right by Kathy Matranga

 

September  6, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The #ValleyFire has scorched 4,000 acres, according to Cal Fire’s incident report this morning. Cal Fire San Diego’s Twitter feed reports that 10 structures were destroyed overnight; the blaze is still zero percent contained.

View a map of the fire via NASA satellite imagery.

Road closures:  The San Diego County Sheriff advises that the following road closures are in effect:

  • Japatul Rd. and Carveacre Rd.
  • Lawson Valley Rd. and Skyline Truck Trail
  • Japatul Rd. and Sequan Truck Trail
  • Japatul Rd. and Hidden Glen Rd.

According to the US Forest Service, 335 firefighters are battling the flames on the ground. Structures are being threatened in the Carveacre and Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley, Deer Horn Valley and Sycuan Indian Reservation.


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INSURANCE COMMISSIONER DAVE JONES TOURS BURNED AREAS, OFFERS TIPS TO PREPARE FOR WILDFIRES AND HOW TO HELP SURVIVORS

 

East County News Service

October 8, 2015 (Sacramento) – California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones visited communities hit hard by the Valley Fire, also noting that two lives were lost in the Butte Fire.


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12 FIRES SCORCH DESTRUCTIVE PATH ACROSS CALIFORNIA

 

 

East County News Service

September 14, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Over 11,000 firefighters are battling 12 large fires across California.  The fires have destroyed hundreds of homes and threaten thousands more.  Several firefighters have been injured (but are recovering) and at least one life has been lost in the Valley Fire.  Robert Louis Stevenson state park is closed due to the fires, which also continue to threaten giant sequoias at Kings Canyon National Park.

County Fire Chief Tony Mecham and the CAL FIRE unit in San Diego assure that stations in San Diego County are open and fully staffed; all days off for CAL-FIRE firefighters have been cancelled.  He also urged local residents to be prepared in case fires occur here, warning of dangerous conditions.


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