Wildfire News

A POLITICAL FIRESTORM IS ABOUT TO HIT THE CAPITOL: WHO WILL PAY FOR WILDFIRE DAMAGES?

 

By Laurel Rosenhall

CALmatters

July 16, 2018 (Sacramento) - Asked this spring to identify the most important issue facing California lawmakers, the leader of the state Senate didn’t hesitate: wildfires.

Two months later—with fires blazing from the Oregon border to San Diego—legislators are poised to wade into a political firestorm sparked by last year’s historic fires and mudslides, which destroyed about 10,000 buildings and killed at least 66 people.

ALPINE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION NOW ACCEPTING TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO HELP WEST FIRE SURVIVORS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Drone video of West Fire devastation in Alpine: "Aftermath from above" by Joseph A. Acevedo, N6SIX

July 15, 2018 (Alpine) – People who want to help Alpine residents rebuild homes lost after the West Fire, and fill gaps that insurance companies and other agencies aren’t filling, can now make a tax deductible donation to the Alpine Community Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

A community recovery team will help the Foundation verify needs and resources. Money will pay bills directly, and will not be paid directly to individuals. Those in greatest need will receive help first.  The Foundation is run by volunteers in the community, so no fees will be charged and 100% of donations will benefit fire survivors.

HOW TO HELP WEST FIRE SURVIVORS IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (Alpine) – Many of our readers have been asking how to help people who lost homes in the West Fire in Alpine earlier this month.  Several organizations are helping out and GoFundMe pages have also been set up for some of the families.

Alpine Christian Fellowship has established a West Fire relief fund that is accepting financial donations.  You can also sign up to volunteer to help with debris clean up, supply distribution, food and water, pet care, child care, spiritual care, or transportation.

A Fire Victim Supply Post has been set up at Boulder Oaks Elementary (2320 Tavern Rd., Alpine) where you can donate and drop off supplies to help fire survivors such as clothing, clean-up supplies, non-perishable food items and household goods.  For more info please call or text Margo at 619-876-8713 or Stephanie at 619-573-5638.

Keller Williams Realty has started a fund to help West Fire survivors and is also accepting donations of immediate relief supplies at three locations in Alpine and El Cajon. Details are at their GoFundMe link.

Below are other  GoFundMe sites set up to help specific individuals and families who lost homes in the West Fire. While some have already raised tens of thousands of dollars, other have nearly no donations. Please help our neighbors in need.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: SAN MIGUEL FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE FLAMES IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (Alpine) – San Miguel Fire Protection District posted these dramatic images of their firefighters battling to save mobile homes during the West Fire in Alpine on July 6th.   

"PEACE OF MIND" 3-10-MINUTE EVACUATION PLAN FOR WILDFIRES PART 2

 

By Christina Whipple

July 13, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - Sorry to disappoint folks; you don't need to be a zombie-killing-doomsday-prepper to be prepared.  (Although some of those paracord bracelets look pretty cool...)  Since there is so much information available, it can be overwhelming to start any type of preparedness plan.   I'll make it easy for you.    First, read the article:  Peace-of-Mind 3-10 Minute Evacuation Plan for Wildfires - Part 1.   Second, implement the suggestions in that article.

"PEACE OF MIND" 3-10 MINUTE EVACUATION PLAN FOR WILDFIRES PART 1

 

By Chris Whipple

 

July 12, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - Living in the back country provides many people a little bit of paradise that could never be found in a city.   Unfortunately, the worry about wildfires have caused lifetime residents to view their homes in the new light of "defensible space,” "insurance" and "preparedness.”  This is first of two articles to allow families to have "peace-of-mind" if disaster should strike. 

COUNTY OPENS ASSISTANCE CENTER FOR FIRE VICTIMS

 

 

By Suzanne Bartole, County of San Diego Communications Office

July 11, 2018 (Alpine) - A local assistance center has been set up at the Alpine Library following the recent West Fire, that destroyed homes in the Alpine community, and the Building Fire.

The County of San Diego, along with other community partners, has experts stationed there so that fire victims can get everything they need to know in one central location.

OUR EAST COUNTY WILDFIRE ALERTS PROVIDED CRITICAL, TIMELY INFORMATION DURING EARLY HOURS OF WEST FIRE IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Bob Scheid, shortly after the West Fire began, helped us provide critical early warning to our readers

July 9, 2018 (Alpine) – In the critical first few hours of the West Fire in Alpine, our East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts provided the earliest news that a fire had begun and was threatening homes in Alpine. In the first 12 hours, we posted 38 updates including Twitter, email, articles and social media.

During the fire’s first day, our first alert was sent at 11:44 a.m (simultaneous to the Forest Service's first Tweet five minutes after the fire was reported at 11:39 a.m., per Cal Fire's incident report). That was nearly an hour and a half before the first Cal Fire and County Fire Authority Tweet at 1:04 p.m.  and a full four hours before the first Cal-Fire e-mail alert went out at 3:43 p.m. announcing “numerous structures destroyed.”

Cal Fire/County Fire Chief Tony Mecham has said homes were burning within eight minutes after the fire started, Patch.com reports.

Alpine Fire Department, battling the inferno amid power outages and grappling with a seriously injured fire captain, didn’t get their first Twitter alert out until the next day.  Cleveland National Forest did send timely alerts via Twitter only, but stopped after the fire burned outside of federal lands and into neighborhoods with homes.

During the first 12 hours of the fire, we sent frequent updates via Twitter and email, as well as posting numerous updates on our webpage plus photos and video link. We even went the extra mile to post some information on our Facebook page and on some community forum Facebook pages in or near the Alpine area, where many were without power but could access those sites on cell phones.

ANIMAL SERVICES HELPS PETS, LIVESTOCK DISPLACED IN WEST FIRE

 

Owners sought for pets found after Alpine fire

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

July 9, 2018 (Alpine) - The County Department of Animal Services rescued or sheltered approximately 30 animals from the West Fire, and after reuniting all but four, staff members are helping people impacted by the fire with pet food and resources if needed at the Alpine Local Assistance Center.

DONATE GOODS TO HELP ALPINE FIRE VICTIMS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2018 (Alpine)--A donation center has been set up  by Living Life Alpine for the pubic to drop off goods to help survivors of the West Fire in Alpine, which destroyed at least 35 homes as well as many outbuildings, also damaging other properties.  Donations can be dropped from from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Boulder Oaks Elementary School auditorium at 2320 Tavern Road, Alpine.

This location has changed from an earlier site opened last night, which has already provided relief supplies to several families. 

“Any donations are welcome,” the organization’s Facebook page states.  “Here are some ideas:”

WITH FIRE 92% CONTAINED, ALPINE RESIDENTS RETURN HOME – WITH DOZENS FINDING ONLY ASHES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ready San Diego

July 8, 2018 (Alpine)—The grim toll wrought by the 505-acre West Fire in Alpine has risen. With the wildfire now 92 percent contained and all evacuations lifted, reentry brought relief for some who found homes still standing, but heartache for others facing total devastation.

The fire destroyed at least 56 structures, including 34 homes, a business, and 21 other buildings including barns and sheds.  Another 15 homes were damaged, along with 5 outbuildings.

Merlyn Cochran, assistant manager at Baron’s Market, was at work  when the fire started. Neighbors Al and Sharon Haven told Cochran and her husband to “go get my mother-in-law, who is 96 years old and lives at our ranch, because the winds were shifting and blowing towards our ranch,” Cochran recalls.

ALPINE FIRE CAPTAIN AND SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD MEMBER MIKE VACIO INJURED IN WEST FIRE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Facebook

July 8, 2018 (Alpine) — An Alpine Fire Department crew, the first to arrive at the West Fire in Alpine on Friday, swiftly found themselves surrounded by flames and narrowly managed to escape.  The scorching flames were so hot that they melted tires on the fire engine, 10 news reports.

HEARTBREAK AND HEROISM IN ALPINE

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, courtesy San Diego Sheriff Office, Alpine

 

July 6, 2018 (Alpine) – At the Secret Hills Ranch in Alpine, owner Missy Bender posted this  panicked message on Facebook today as the #WestFire approached: “Fire is here desperately need help…”   With 41 horses in need of evacuation, she pleaded for  help “even on foot” adding that the Sheriff wasn’t letting trailers in. “We have to lead horses out on foot,” she said, adding, “We are fighting the fire off our back fence…”

CAL FIRE LIFTS EVACUATION WARNING FOR SOME WEST FIRE AREAS

 

Update July 8, 2018 --  A Local Assistance Center (LAC) will open Monday, July 9th at the Alpine Library. County representatives & other organizations will be there to help impacted residents begin the rebuilding & recovery process. The LAC will operate 9am-6 pm, until further notice.

Source: County Emergency Services

Photo by Miriam Raftery

Update 8:30 p.m. -- Due to more accurate mapping Cal Fire reports the West Fire is now 504 acres. Firefighters continue to make excellent progress, as the fire is now 81% contained. Evacuation orders and road closures remain in effect throughout the night.

 

July 7, 2018 (Alpine) 6 p.m. --CAL FIRE San Diego announced that the following areas previously under evacuation order or warning for the West fire are now open to residents only:

  • Palo Verde Ranch community to areas outside the fire perimeter
  • Rancho Palo Verde community to areas outside the fire perimeter
  • West of South Grade Road area
  • West of the fire perimeter
  • South of Alpine Boulevard between Peutz Valley Road and South Grade Road
  • West of South Grade Road between Alpine Boulevard and Via Viejas Oeste
  • West of Via Vejas Oeste between South Grade Road and Via Asoleado
  • West of Via Asoleado between Via Viejas Oeste and Japatul Road 

The following areas remain under an evacuation order throughout the night and until further notice:

RECOVERY RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR WEST FIRE SURVIVORS; 18 HOMES LOST IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 7, 2018 (Alpine) – Firefighters made progress on the #WestFire overnight, holding the wildfire to 400 acres with containment now 30%.  At least 18 homes are reported destroyed and 8 more damaged.  Evacuation orders remain in place.  A shelter at Los Coches Middle School remains open and pets are welcome at the shelter.

If you need help after the #West Fire in Alpine, you can call 211 or click here for a list of resources:  https://www.sdcountyrecovery.com/events/july-2018-fire-recovery-resources/.

State and county emergency declarations have been issued. 

FIRES IN NORTH COUNTY

 

Update July 7, 2018 10 a.m.  The brush fire near Camp Pendleton has burned 1,000 acres.  Crews remain in the Miramar area today mopping up hot spots.

Update 8 p.m.:  The brush fire east of Camp Pendleton is 40% contained after burning 330 acres, but no structures have been reported lost.  Residents in Scripps Ranch and Miramar have been warned to be prepared for possible evacuations, NBC 7 reports.

 

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alert Service

 

July 6, 2018 -- A 25 acre brush fire near Stonebridge Estates/Scripps Ranch in Miramar was reported to San Diego Fire Department at 3:25 pm., Bob Ilko, president of the Scripps Ranch Civic Association has informed East County Magazine.

 

In Oceanside, a 125-acre fire at Camp Pendleton has forced evacuations of 750 homes.

STRUCTURES BURNING IN DULZURA AND ALPINE BRUSH FIRES

 

Update 5 p.m. The County has declared an emergency due to the fires: County proclaims a local emergency due to the fires:  http://www.sdcountyemergency.com/updates/county-proclaims-local-emergenc...   The Governor has also declared a state emergency in San DIego County moments ago: @JerryBrownGov declares state of emergency in San Diego County due to #WestFire https://bit.ly/2MPRlNi

Update 3:10 p.m.:  10 News, ECM's news partner, has provided a map of the #WestFire in Alpine.

Update 2:30 p.m. Fire is now 350 acres in Alpine and 0% contained.

Update 2:10 p.m. Lakeside Rodeo Grounds is open for large animal evacuations.

Update 1:50 p.m.  CHP has shut down I-8 east at Tavern Rd. The Tavern and Willows Rd. exits are also closed. Over 1,400 homes are without power in the Alpine area due to lines damaged by the fire; estimated restoration time is 4 p.m. per SDG&E.

Update 1:30 p.m.:  The #WestFire in Alpine is now 150 acres. Mandatory evacuations are underway. Homes are burning on Honey Hill Road.

 

Photos:  #WestFire in Alpine, by Robert Scheid

View video:https://www.facebook.com/robert.scheid.35/videos/1024052857719513/

July 6, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- Two brush fires have burned at least one structure each in Dulzura and Apine.  The #StructureFire at State Route 94 and Community Rd. in Dulzura has charred over 10 acres per Cal Fire and prompted 144 evacuation notices to be issued per County Emergency Services.  NBC 7 has film of a structure in flames.

In Alpine, the #WestFire started south of I-8, west of Willows, and is burning toawrd mobile homes, an eyewitness at the scene advises ECM. It is now estimated at 10-15 acres per Cleveland National Forest which confirms structures are threatened. A Fox TV video shows at least one structure already burning.  A DC 10 has been requested.

Robert Scheid, an eyewitness at the scene, says the fire in Alpine is burning toward mobile homes and that some flames are as tall as power poles.

SENATOR HUESO NAMED TO CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

 

East County News Service

July 5, 2018 (San Diego) -- California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) has announced the appointment of Senators who will serve on the Conference Committee on Wildfire Preparedness and Response. They include Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), whose district includes the southern portion of East County.

BRUSH FIRE IN WITCH CREEK CHARS FIVE ACRES

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 July 2, 2018 (Ramona) – The Creek Fire that started this afternoon in the Witch Creek area near 25379 Creek Hollow Road, east of Ramona, has burned five acres and is currently 5% contained, according to Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham.

 Forward spread of the vegetation fire has been stopped and no structures are threatened. There are no road closures. 

FIREFIGHTERS FIND BODY IN SANTEE

 

East County News Service

June 30, 2018 (Santee) – After dousing a brush fire that charred about 500 square feet near Santee Lakes this afternoon, firefighters found a body at the scene.

The blaze was reported around 2:10 p.m. in the 9300 block of Fanita Parkway, Sheriff’s Lt. Rich Williams said, Patch.com reports.

The Medical Examiner is working to try and identify the decease. No description has been provided. Authorities are investigating the cause of both the death and the fire, but it is not yet known whether foul play was involved.

DRONE GROUNDED HELICOPTER IN SANTEE FIRE

 

East County News Service

June 26, 2018 (Santee) -- Cal Fire reports that a drone forced grounding of a firefighting helicopter today in Santee while ground crews fought a fire that began late this afternoon on Prospect Ave. near Highway 52 and Cuyamaca.

The blaze briefly caused evacuations, 10 News reports.  The fire has now been contained, according to the Sheriff's Department.

RETIRED JULIAN FIRE CHIEF ACCUSED OF STATE LAW VIOLATIONS IN PERB COMPLAINT

 

By Ken Stone

Credit to Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Julian Fire Chief Rick Marinelli (left) with a Julian resident after July 2017 special meeting of fire district. Photo by Julie Pendray via eastcountymagazine.org

June 26, 2018 (Julian) - Five months before retiring, Julian’s fire chief violated state law — threatening volunteer firefighters involved in a vote of no confidence in his leadership, a labor agency says.

But Rick Marinelli, who left as chief in late May, denies allegations made in the state agency’s complaint against the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District.

10TH ANNIVERSARY OF COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY GETS CHILLY JULIAN RECEPTION

 

By Ken Stone, originally published at Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

June 18, 2018 (Julian) - Julian residents Lori Foss and Patricia Van Natta stood quietly in a heating-up helicopter hangar Thursday, watching their East County supervisor and Cal Fire chief boast of backcountry fire readiness.

INMATE FIREFIGHTER, ESCAPED FROM MCCAIN VALLEY CAMP, IS BACK IN CUSTODY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2018 (McCain Valley) – An inmate firefighter last seen in his bunk last Tuesday night at the McCain Valley Conservation Camp in East County was taken into custody Friday night, the California Department of Corrections has announced.

JULIAN FIREFIGHTER ASSOCIATION HOSTS SPAGHETTI FUNDRAISER JUNE 16 AT FIRE HOUSE MUSEUM IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 11, 2018 (Julian/San Diego) – The Julian Firefighter Association invites you to a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Saturday, June 16th at the Fire House Museum (1572 Columbia St.) in downtown San Diego’s Little Italy district.  Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m. at an evening that honors Fire Captain Dave Southcott and other volunteers.

BRUSH FIRE IN CAMPO

 

Update June 12, 2018 9:45 a.m. -- Church Road is reopened. The fire is 70% contained with forward spread stopped.

Update 7 p.m.:  Cal Fire reports the Church Fire is actually 2 fires, one that burned 9 acres and the other a spot fire at one acre. Forward spread has been stopped and the combined blaze is 30% contained.  Church Road remains closed from Highway 94 to Old Highway 80. One structure has been threatened and the resident self-evacuated. Crews remain on scene mopping up the fires.

June 11, 2018 (Campo) 3:25 p.m. -- Cal Fire reports a 4 acre brush fire, #ChurchIC, in Campo.

CHP has ordered a closure of Church Road at Old Highway 80, where the fire was reported a short time ago near the Golden Acorn Casino. The incident commander reports a structural threat and says the fire is burning at a moderate rate of spread.

DANGEROUS BEACH CONDITIONS

 

East County News Service

 

June 9, 2018 (San Diego) - The National Weather Service has issued a warning advising that a Southern Hemisphere swell will arrive at local beaches this weekend, peaking Sunday through Tuesday.   This will pose a hazard to beach goers, creating strong surf.  Arrows on this map, provided by forecaster Alexander Tardy, shows the broad swatch of south swell west of Hurricane Aletta off the Pacific Coast.

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