Wildfire News

READER’S EDITORIAL: A PLEA TO GOVERNOR BROWN – PROTECT US FROM THE WILDFIRES THAT THREATEN US MOST. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE FORESTS.

 

Twelve recommendations to protect communities from wildfire, based on science and needs of our families and greatest risk

By the Chaparral Institute

Photo: Devastation of the Fountaingrove II community in Santa Barbara during the 2017 Tubbs fire was predictable. The area had burned in 1964 and the city was warned by its own planning department that the area was too dangerous to build homes in, but development was approved despite not following general plan guidelines.

May 17, 2018 (Escondido) -- The lead purpose of Governor Brown’s Executive Order of May 10, 2018 is to “Protect Communities from Wildfire.” The order emphasizes that “eight of the state’s 20 most destructive fires have occurred in the past four years.”

TRAFFIC ALERT: FATALITY CRASH CLOGS I-8 WEST

 

Update May 18, 2018: Sajjad Hameed Ismael, 20, driver of 2001 Toyota, has been charged with felony hit and run causing death/injury, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended license. He was also booked on outstanding warrants.

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

May 17, 2018 (San Diego) -- Four lanes of Interstate 8 West at Waring Road in the College area are expected to remain closed this evening for investigation and clean-up following a fatality crash. The multi-vehicle collision that occurred this afternoon killed a passenger in a Toyota Avalon and has prompted a SIG Alert.

According to the Cailfornia  Highway Patrol, the Avalon driver struck a slow-moving vehicle and veered onto a hill, struck several trees and then rolled back down onto the freeway.

COUNTY AND RURAL FIRE AGENCIES RECEIVE $164,500 FROM SDG&E TO INSTALL ESSENTIAL TECHNOLOGY

 

Supervisor Ron Roberts recognizes SDG&E and Fire Foundations for their leadership

Source: SDG&E

May 15, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- In an action that will improve communications and awareness for first responders during wildfires and other natural disasters, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors today accepted two grants totaling $164,500 for the installation of 70 Mobile Data Computers on CAL FIRE firefighting rigs in the backcountry.

CAL FIRE ISSUES NO-BURN PROCLAMATION EFFECTIVE MAY 14

 

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

 

CAL FIRE's San Diego unit has issued a proclamation suspending burning permits and other uses of open fires starting May 14th due to fire danger. Below are details from the CAL FIRE announcement issued today:



Due to the extreme menace of destruction by fire to life, improved property, or natural resources caused by critical fire weather and acute dryness of vegetation; and/or fire suppression forces being heavily committed to control fires; and, under authority vested in me by the Director of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as per section 4423.1 of the Public Resources Code, I hereby suspend, except within the incorporated cities, the privileges of burning by permit and other uses of open fire in the geographic area described as:



ALL STATE RESPONSIBILITY AREA LANDS WITHIN THE COUNTY / COUNTIES OF SAN DIEGO

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:

BYSTANDERS HELP RESCUE SANTEE RESIDENTS FROM BURNING APARTMENTS; BLAZE DISPLACES 40 PEOPLE

 

 

By Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson and Miriam Raftery

April 10, 2018 (Santee) – A fire has scorched multiple apartments at Santee Villas in the 10400 block of Mast Boulevard across the street from Santana High School tonight, where a passerby told East County Magazine details of efforts to save residents and pets from the flames.

“I was riding down Mast Boulevard when I noticed black smoke coming from an apartment complex,” says Robert Johnson, a Santee resident.  “I chucked my backpack and bike,” he says, adding that he followed the lead of others trying to assist. He says  he “started busting windows and helping people out where I could.”

BRUSH FIRE IN RAMONA

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

May 5, 2018 (Ramona)--Cal Fire advises that a brush fire is burning in Ramona. The blaze, now about seven acres, started at Montecito Road and North Ramona. The blaze is 10 percent contained and burning at a moderate rate of speed.

The Sheriff's Department reported moments ago that the fire is mostly in a riverbed and that no homes are currently threatened. Residents and motorists are asked to please keep the area clear for emergency vehicles.

HEARTLAND FIREFIGHTERS FOUNDATION HOSTS FUNDRAISER TONIGHT FOR FAMILY MEMBERS WITH CANCER

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

On Friday, May 4, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. a fundraiser at the San Diego Firehouse Museum will offer an opportunity to see the museum and to raise money for cancer patients Glenn Stewart and Paula Hamma. The Heartland Firefighters Foundation is holding a fundraiser at the museum to help these family members of the men and women who fight our wildfires and other fires in East County.

The museum, founded in 1962 and located in San Diego’s Little Italy, houses steel from the World Trade Center, firefighting equipment from the late 1800s, La Jolla’s first fire engine and more. Besides seeing the museum, the taco plates ($10) and beer ($5) offered will be a great way to contribute to monies to help Stewart and Hamma. There is no entry fee.

LAWSUITS FILED AGAINST SDG&E OVER POWERLINE EASEMENTS: ATTORNEYS SEEK OTHER IMPACTED PROPERTY OWNERS IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Screenshots, KUSI Turko Files

April 30, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Several property owners have filed lawsuits against SDG&E over negative impacts from the utility’s plan to widen easements to 15 feet on each side of power lines in communities including Pine Valley, Descanso and Alpine.

HOUSE PASSES CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS’ AMENDMENT PROTECTING EMERGENCY RESPONDERS FROM DRONES

 

 

East County News Service

April 26, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- The House today passed an amendment authored by Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) to protect emergency responders from illegal drone use during disasters. Davis’s amendment directs the federal government to work with state and local entities to educate the public about the dangers of flying unmanned aircraft into areas with temporary flight restrictions. It also calls for coordinating on enforcing current laws against such drone use.  The bill has yet to pass the House.

CAL FIRE CAPTAIN JEFF GRIFFITH RUNS FOR STATE SENATE TO FIGHT FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

 

Hear our interview on KNSJ on these hot topics and more by clicking the audio link:  Protecting residents from wildfires and frequent power outages,  setting state standards to shorten ambulance response times and beef up fire protection, make healthcare more accessible,  create opportunities for middle class jobs, and stop special interest influences.

By Miriam Raftery

April 15, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – “I’ve bene fighting to save lives and protect people my entire adult life,” says Cal Fire Captain/paramedic Jeff Griffith, who is also an elected member of the Palomar Health District board.  Now he’s running for the 38th State Senate district seat being vacated by Joel Anderson due to term limits, which includes most of East County’s urban, rural and mountain areas.

He’s running against Brian Jones, former Assemblyman and current Santee Councilman—and taking Jones to task for a legislative record that he says favored special interests over public health and safety. 

Captain Griffith wants to solve concerns raised recently by residents in San Diego’s inland region, such as  protecting residents not only from wildfires, but also from dangers posed by frequent intentional power outages. He would support legislation to improve ambulance response times, as a paramedic who has seen what happens when patients don’t get to an ER in time.  He also wants legislative to put fire protection as a guarantee in our county's charter and pledges to fight for better access and affordability to healthcare, as well as opportunities for middle class jobs.

Audio: 

HIGH WIND ADVISORY

 

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo: Clouds layered “like pancakes” over East County’s mountains; National Weather Service San DIego

April 15, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory in effect starting at midnight tonight through 5 a.m. Tuesday in our mountains and deserts.

Gusts could reach 65 to 75 miles per hour, with sustained southwest to west winds of 35 to 45 mph. The strongest winds are forecast for Monday afternoon and evening.

LEARN WHAT FIREFIGHTERS KNOW TO PROTECT YOUR HOME AND COMMUNITY: APRIL 21 IN DESCANSO

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 11, 2018 (Descanso) — The Descanso Fire Safe Council invites you to a program on fire operations in the wildland urban interface.  Come learn what firefighters learn to protect your home and your community.

This special program will be held on April 21st from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Descanso Library, 9545 River Drive in Descanso.  Registration is required.

WILDLAND FIRE DRILL APRIL 25-27 AT PALA RESERVATION

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 11, 2018 (Pala) – If you see smoke emanating from the northeast portion of San Diego County April 25th through 27th, be aware that the annual Wildland Fire Preparedness Exercise will be conducted on the Pala Indian reservation in coordination with San Diego County Fire Chiefs and numerous emergency services agencies from across the County.

SDG&E HEARS FROM DESCANSO RESIDENTS IN PUBLIC FORUM ON FIRE SAFETY AND POWER SHUT-OFF CONCERNS

 

Future community forums planned March 23 in Valley Center, March 30 in Ramona and April 6 in Warner Springs. View schedule here.

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – At the Descanso Town Hall on March 16th,  SDG&E representatives met with residents to discuss efforts to improve fire safety and hear community concerns, including ideas for reducing impacts of power shut-offs during high fire-risk weather conditions. Representatives from 211 San Diego , the local Red Cross, the Descanso Fire Safe Council and the area’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were also on hand.

Portions of Descanso had a dozen or more outages late last year, much to the frustration of many residents.  But the outskirts of Descanso have also had among the most extreme conditions. 

SDG&E, AMERICAN RED CROSS, 2-1-1 SAN DIEGO HOST COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLES ADDRESSING WILDFIRE RISK AND POWER SHUT-OFFS

 

Upated March 16, 2018 with more meeting times and details added.

March 8, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- SDG&E announces five upcoming community forums from March 9 through April 6 in high fire risk communitie to get feedback from residents and share information on fire resiliency and power shut-offs.  Dates are March 9 in Pine Valley, March 16 in Descanso, March 23 in Valley Center, March 30 in Ramona, and April 6 in Warner Springs.

Below is the press release from SDG&E:

JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE BOARD VOTES TO NEGOTIATE WITH COUNTY

 

Story and photos by A.J. Herrington

February 13, 2018 (Julian) -- The Board of Directors of the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) has voted 3-2 to negotiate fire protection standards for the community with the County of San Diego, if the County takes over that responsibility from the district. Many of the area residents who attended the crowded meeting at Fire Station 56 on Highway 79 today believe it’s the beginning of the end for the last volunteer fire department in the county.

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.

JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE FEE FAILS TO QUALIFY FOR BALLOT AS TENSIONS ESCALATE OVER FUTURE OF FIRE DISTRICT

 

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

Photo: 2011 Angel Fire, burning behind Julian High School

February 3, 2018 (Julian) –  The San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu, in a letter to Patricia Landis, has advised that a proposed ballot measure to raise fees to $200 in the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District had only 191 valid signatures—34 signatures short of the 225 needed to qualify.

CA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER TELLS INSURERS MUDSLIDES IN SANTA BARBARA MUST BE COVERED IF CAUSED BY FIRES

 

Victims encouraged to file claims with insurers

Source: California Insurance Commissioner’s Office

January 29, 2018 (Santa Barbara) -- Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today issued a formal notice to all property and casualty insurance companies reminding them of their duty to cover damages from the recent mudslide and debris flows if it is determined that the ravaging of hillsides and vegetation by the Thomas and other fires was the efficient proximate cause of the mudslides. In general homeowners' insurance policies, excludes flood, mudslide, debris flow and other similar events.

RED FLAG WARNING SATURDAY THROUGH MONDAY

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

January 26, 2018 (San Diego) -- The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning due to high fire danger.  The warning is in effect from Saturday evening through Monday afternoon for all mountains and valleys across Southern California.

Gusty Santa Ana winds, low humidity and temperatures west of the mountains that could be 10 to 22 degrees above normal all contribute to the elevated risk risk.

FEMA ENCOURAGES TSUNAMI AWARENESS AND PREPAREDNESS FOR COASTAL COMMUNITIES

 

East County News Service

January 24, 2018 (Washington D.C.) --  Following an intense earthquake that occurred in the Gulf of Alaska yesterday, which prompted tsunami watches, advisories and warnings across many state coastlines, FEMA continues to highlight safety tips for those who live in or visit coastal communities.  While today’s immediate threat has passed, the situation serves as a reminder to all that there are steps that can be taken now, to prepare for future events.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE FUNDS FOR MORE CAMERAS TO SPOT WILDFIRES IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  HPWREN images of Chariot Fire in 2013

January 23, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Five more cameras will soon be positioned atop mountains in East County to help spot wildfires and help firefighters douse flames early to prevent firestorms.  Supervisors on Tuesday approved funds to expand the UCSD Scripps Institute’s High-Performance Wireless Research and Education Network, or HPWREN.

FEMA ASSISTANCE NOW AVAILABLE FOR RESIDENTS IMPACTED BY THE DECEMBER 2017 LILAC FIRE

 

Source:  San Diego County Emergency

January 15, 2018 (San Diego) -- Residents of San Diego County who suffered damage or losses from the recent Lilac Fire in December 2017 can now register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the County of San Diego advised today. 

CONTROLLED BURN NEAR PINE VALLEY STARTS TUESDAY

 
 
East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts
 
January 15, 2018 (Pine Valley) -- If you see smoke  over East County  on this week, be aware that Cal Fire San Diego will conduct its first controlled burn of the year starting on Tuesday. Ignition is set to begin by mid-morning and is expected to take place over several days until complete.
 
The planned 100-acre burn on Corte Madera Ranch south of I-8 near Pine Valley is part of Cal Fire's vegetation management program to help prevent future large wildfires. Smoke will be visible throughout the county.

FLOOD ADVISORY THROUGH 7 PM

January 9, 2018, 4:30 p.m. -- The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued an Areal Flood Advisory for San Diego County until 7:00 PM.

Doppler radar indicated moderate to heavy rain moving through San Diego County, especially the northwestern sections. This will likely cause urban and small stream flooding in the advisory area from the mountains west to the coast. Rainfall rates of up to one-half inch per hour could locally occur.

Some locations that will likely experience flooding include Chula Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, El Cajon, Vista, Encinitas, National City, La Mesa, Poway, portions of the San Diego city limits, North Park, Hillcrest and Midway District Including Lindbergh Field.

ASSEMBLY CANDIDATE JAMES ELIA SUPPORTS INVESTIGATION OF OUTAGES PLANNED BY SDG&E

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – 71st Assembly candidate James Elia is speaking to support an investigation into the SDG&E planned power outages in December that left many thousands of residents across the county without electricity, in some cases for a full week.

FLOODING, CRASHES AND DEBRIS ON ROADWAYS

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

January 9, 2018 (9:45 a.m.) There are multiple hazards to report this morning per the CHP on East County roadways, including:

  • Lemoncrest in Lakeside is closed  from Wintergarden Blvd. to Riverview due to flooding in the 12028 block.
  • A high-wind advisory is in effect for I-8 east of Alpine and high-profile vehicles are not advised to travel here.
  • Mapleview at Pine in Lakeside is also flooded.
  • Debris is reported on I-8 west of the Sweetwater bridge in spring Valley.
  • In Ramona, there is roadway flooding at Hanson Lane and Wilson
  • A rockslide has been reported on Japatul Road with large boulders the size of deer; CHP is working to determine exact location of this slide called in.
  • A boulder half the size of a tire is reported in the left lane of Arnold Way at Tavern Road in Alpine.
  • A multi-car accident has occurred on I-8 west at Fletcher Parkway.

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