Wildfire News

13-YEAR-OLD FOUND GUILTY OF STARTING COCOS FIRE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Wikipedia Commons courtesy of SamBoy

March 25, 2015 (San Diego)—The Cocos Fire charred nearly 2,000 acres and burned down dozens of homes in San Marcos and Harmony Grove in May 2014.  On Wednesday, Judge Howard Shore ruled that a 13-year-old girl was responsible for intentionally and maliciously starting the devastating blaze.

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.

COUNTY PROPOSES PLAN TO TAKEOVER TRAINING SITE FROM SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT

 

East County News Service

March 7, 2015 (Spring Valley ) – Out of money to complete construction and maintenance of a partially-built training facility in Casa De Oro, San Miguel Fire District on March 11th will consider a proposal from the County Fire Authority to take over the lease, move forward on construction and assume maintenance responsibilities.

JULIAN'S NEW DISASTER ACTION TEAM

 

Left to right:  Brian Kramer, CalFire Engineer Brian Hodo, Pat Landis, Jan Payne, Firefighter Dallas Tinsman, Sheana Fry, Firefighter Anthony Rossetti, Cathy Ozbun, Kathy Payne, Les Turner, Greg Hidley, Ron Ozbun

March 6, 2015 (Julian)—Julian Cuyamaca Fire Department  CERT and RED CROSS have partnered to develop a Disaster Action Team (DAT) to serve San Diego County back country. Disaster Action Team volunteers are the heart of American Red Cross disaster relief efforts. DAT members respond immediately to a disaster when called by emergency dispatch. The eight volunteers in the photo were trained on March 5th how to assess the scope of the damage, meet with the affected family or families to determine their immediate disaster-related needs, and ensure that those needs are met. Depending upon individual requirements, the Red Cross can provide assistance in the form of secure shelter, food, clothing, medical needs and mental health counseling.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT BOARD ANNEXES PEPPER DRIVE AREA

 

By Paul Kruze

March 1, 2015 (Spring Valley)--After a couple of months getting familiar with their responsibilities and getting used to a trio of newly-elected colleagues, the San Miguel Fire District Board began to get down to business at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on February 11 at the district headquarters in Spring Valley.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE VOTES TO OPEN FINANCE COMMITTEE TO PUBLIC, PRESS

East County News Service

February 26, 2015 (Spring Valley) – As a result of an East County Magazine (ECM) inquiry, San Miguel Fire District’s Board voted this week to make its finance committee a permanent standing committee, which means that the committee’s meetings will now be open to the press and public.

Previously, the finance committee was deemed an ad-hoc committee by the district, which argued that it did not need to allow public access.  ECM contacted Californians Aware (CALAWARE), an organization that protects public access under Califoirnia’s sunshine laws.

FIREFIGHTERS' BOOT DRIVE COMING TO A NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU MARCH 4TH

 

February 15, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--The Countywide Firefighter Boot Drive is the biggest and most important fundraiser of the year for the Burn Institute.  Firefighters from over 40 departments will grab their boots and congregate at nearly 100 intersections. Virtually every fire department in the county is participating, so look for them in your neighborhood.

BRUSH FIRE QUCKLY DOUSED IN EL CAJON

 

Source: Heartland Fire & Rescue

February 14, 2015 (El Cajon)-Heartland Fire & Rescue crews in El Cajon responded to reports of a brush fire in the 1500 block of Orange Avenue in El Cajon Saturday afternoon at 4:41 p.m.   Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy smoke coming from a hillside behind a home at 1522 S. Orange Avenue.

A HEART-WARMING RESPONSE FOR FIREFIGHTER AWAITING HEART TRANSPLANT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, right: Adam Beardsley and his wife, Megan

Update February 19, 2015 -- Adam Beardsley received a new heart two days ago and is doing very well, a Heartland Fire official announced at last night's La Mesa Chamber of Commerce Salute to Heroes event.

Update February 15, 2015--Rust Accounting has sent us a final tally for the event, which raised over $18,000 from an estimated 1,000 guests who attended.

February 11, 2015 (La Mesa) –Hundreds of community members turned out Sunday at the Bolt Brewery in La Mesa at a fundraiser to help cover expenses for Adam Beardsley, a 33-year-old Heartland Deputy Fire Marshal in need of a heart transplant. 

“He has such as big heart,” Monica Zech, public information officer for the City of El Cajon, said of Beardsley. She added that he remains in good spirits at UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital, where he has been a patient since January 6th, awaiting a heart donor.  “But he didn’t want this to be just about him,” she said, adding that Beardsley helps publicity on the shortage of organ donors will ultimately help others, too.

A single organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people. Currently over 110,000 people in the U.S. are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Nearly 1,600 people are on the waiting list for a organ transplant in San Diego and Imperial Counties. For information about organ donation, click here.

PRECRIBED BURNING TO CONTINUE

 

Photo: Ceonothus (wild lilac) on Middle Peak in Cuyamaca

February 7, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Cleveland National Forest is slated to continue prescribed burning from now through June of 2015, depending upon weather and fuel conditions. But at least one environmental organization has raised questions about impacts of the burns.

CONTROLLED BURN WEDNESDAY

 



Update: Click here for a map of the burn area, provided by CAL FIRE, which is assistant state parks with the burn.

 

February 3, 2015 (Cuyamaca) -- A 100-acre controlled burn is scheduled for this Wednesday, February 4 in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park at Middle Peak.  The burn has been cancelled several previous times, but could put out significant smoke visible across East County if it goes forward.

Another burn is slated on Mt. Laguna, ECM has learned.

PRESCRIBED BURN AT CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK JANUARY 21

 

January 19, 2015 (Julian)--California State Parks will be conducting a prescribed burn in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park with CAL FIRE’s assistance on Wednesday January 21st. The prescribed burn will occur on the south side of Middle Peak in the Park.

WIND TURBINE BURSTS INTO FLAMES IN OCOTILLO

By Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2015 (Ocotillo) –A wind turbine at the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility burst into flames on January 15th.  East County Magazine photographer Jim Pelley, an Ocotillo resident, caught the incident on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGYvHM5KlJs&feature=youtu.be. The Siemens 2.3-108 turbine was a 2.3 megawatt  model with 108 meter blades.  The turbine (#110) is located along a mining road.

“There were no injuries,” Jeff Grappone from Siemens told ECM.  An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire, he stated in an e-mail.  The equipment impacted (six turbines on one circuit) has been de-energized, a safe perimeter established and the tower is being monitored continuously, he indicated.

NEW SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD TO CONSIDER RETURNING DISTRICT TO LOCAL CONTROL

Photo, left: Fire inspector Natalie Grimes receives recognition for her service

By Paul Kruze

January 15, 2015 (Spring Valley)--Following a campaign promise which rode a trio of new directors into office on the San Miguel Fire District Board last November, board member Theresa McKenna has introduced a proposal to return control of the agency to local management control. The district currently has a partnership with CAL FIRE to manage firefighting services that was adopted due to an earlier budget shortfall.

McKenna proposed that an ad hoc committee be formed to study the feasibility of the management change at the agency’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday evening, January 14th.

STATE COMPLETES INVESTIGATION OF SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT OVER FUNDING DISCREPANCIES: LOCAL TAXPAYERS TO FOOT BILL

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2015 (Spring Valley) – The State Controller’s Office has issued its final review report on the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District’s administrative and internal accounting controls.

“Our review did not identify any significant deficiencies with the District’s administrative and internal accounting controls,” the report states. None-the-less, the report indicates the state plans to charge the district for the cost of the investigation. report indicates the state launched the investigation  because it had “reason to believe that the Annual Report of Financial Transactions submitted by the District is misstated, incomplete, or incorrect.”

ALPINE FIRE BOARD MEMBERS REAPPOINTED; NO OPPONENTS RAN

 

East County News Service

December 19, 2014 (Alpine)--Four of the five Board Members of the Alpine Fire Protection District were sworn into office for additional terms at the December 16th Board Meeting.  At the meeting, District legal counsel Steve Fitch, administered the oath of office to all four at the same time.

NEW BOARD HOLDS FIRST MEETING IN SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT

 

By Paul Kruze

December 16, 2014 (Spring Valley) -- Promising a heightened attention to transparency and public involvement in its decisions and special attention to the area around the community of Crest, three newly-elected members of the San Miguel Fire District, Mike Vacio, Jim Ek, and Theresa McKenna, were sworn into office by El Cajon Superior Court Presiding Judge, Laura Halgren at last Wednesday’s regularly scheduled monthly board meeting.  The three replaced previously elected members, Richard Augustine, Chris Winter, and Jeffrey Lyle Nelson, who lost their bids to serve a second four-year term in the November General Election. The board positions held by William Kiel, Dave Rickards, Karrie Johnston, and Dan McMillan are slated for re-election in 2016.

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.

LAST BIG LAWSUIT FROM 2007 WILDFIRES ON VERGE OF SETTLING WITH SDG&E

 

East County News Service

December 9, 2014 (San Diego)--Over 2,600 lawsuits were filed against San Diego Gas & Electric Company over damages from the 2007 firestorms that devastated our region.

PRESCRIBED BURNING BEGINS IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

 

 

East County News Service

December 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—If you see smoke over the backcountry, be aware that the Cleveland National Forest will conduct prescribed burning from December 2014 through June of 2015 as weather and fuel conditions permit on the Trabuco, Palomar and Descanso Ranger Districts. The goal of the burning is to reduce hazardous fuels that have accumulated in the Forest and around local communities.

WITNESSES SOUGHT TO ARSON FIRES IN CITY HEIGHTS

 

East County News Service

November 24, 2014 (City Heights) -- The San Diego Police is rounding up suspects in a wave of arson fires that have struck Mid-City neighborhoods in recent weeks. Investigators believe several arsonists may be responsible for at least 16 fires set mostly in neighborhoods in and near City Heights. Now, investigators are asking for the public’s help.

RED FLAG WARNING ISSUED

 

A red flag warning for fire danger is now in effect through Wednesday at 6 p.m. in San Diego’s mountain and inland region. Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 80 miles per hour are forecast.

SDG&E shut off power proactively due to the high winds and fire danger Monday night, leaving about 90 residents in Descanso, Cuyamaca and Boulder Creek without power, ABC 10 News reports. Restoration is expected this morning.

FIRE WEATHER WATCH, WARM THANKSGIVING FORECAST

 

November 22, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch for San Diego County’s inland valleys and mountain areas through Tuesday due to warm temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds up to 80 miles per hour forecast.  Monitor the news for possible red flag warnings.

RED FLAG WARNING

 

November 15, 2014 (San Diego)--The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning from 8 p.m. Sunday to 8  p.m.Monday for the San Diego County inland valleys and mountains. Periods of strong and gusty northeast winds will develop for Sunday into Monday. Very dry conditions will develop with humidity values falling into the single digits on both days. Weaker but gusty northeast winds will continue into Tuesday along with low humidity.  

More forecast information and updates are available from the National Weather Service.

CHALLENGERS OUST INCUMBENTS IN SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT

 

East County News Service

November 5, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- The biggest political upset in East County this electionappears to have taken place in the San Miguel Fire District, where a slate of challengers has won three seats on the board, ousting incumbents.

On top with 100% of precincts counted Mike Vacio, Jim Ek and Theresa McKenna with 20.16%, 18.25% and 16.26% of the vote.

RED FLAG WARNING FOR FIRE DANGER ISSUED

 

November 4, 2014 (San Diego) -- With strong, gusty winds and low humidity in the forecast, the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning effective immediately for the inland valleys and mountains. The warning is expected to last until 5 p.m. on Thursday night.

Santa Ana winds of 20-30 miles per hours are forecast, with gusts up to 55 miles per hour in places.  The Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index for San Diego (Zone 3) indicates that the threat will peak on Wednesday with a threat rating of moderate.

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.

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