Wildfire News

SANTA ANA WINDS FORECAST THURSDAY THROUGH SATURDAY

 

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

November 30, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – A potentially strong Santa Ana weather pattern will develop Thursday evening, bringing strong Santa Ana winds Thursday night through Saturday. Sustained winds of 20-30 miles per hour and gusts over 65 mph are possible in the windiest locations, including Highway 8 in San Diego County from Alpine to the Imperial County border.

SDG&E PLAN TO RECOVER 2007 WILDFIRE COSTS SET FOR CPUC HEARING JAN. 9 IN ESCONDIDO

 

East County News Service

November 16, 2016 (Escondido) — The California Public Utilities Commission will hold public hearings January 9, 2017 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s application for authorization to recover costs related to the 2007 Southern California wildfires recorded in the Wildfire Expense Memorandum Account (WEBA). 

CAL FIRE SLATE WINS 3 OF 4 SEATS IN SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD RACE

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 12, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – In July, San Miguel’s Fire Board voted by a slim one-vote margin to cancel its contract with CAL FIRE a year early and go back to being a free-standing district, but kept the action on hold pending outcome of the election.

READER’S EDITORIAL: FIRE TRUCK USED FOR POLITICKING IN SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD RACE

 

By Patrick D. Walker, Deputy Vice President—District X,  CAL FIRE Firefighters Local 2881

November 5, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- In reference to your article regarding Santee firefighters' use of a fire engine for political action, it should be known that the same is being done in San Miguel.  Those who oppose the CAL FIRE Cooperative Agreement are using an Engine that the District sold to them (Former Local 1434 / San Miguel Firefighters Foundations) for $1 with the clause that it would not be used for political action, well it clearly is.  Not only are they using it for political action (Displaying at local businesses) they are also sharing the images on Social Media and storing the fire engine at a fire station.  See video.  They are also driving the engine around the District with trucks in front and behind supporting the opposition.  From day one they have done everything to sabotage the CAL FIRE Agreement, this is just another example.

HEAR OUR HOT INTERVIEWS: SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD CANDIDATES

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 4, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The future of the San Miguel Fire District hangs in the balance.  Should San Miguel keep its contract with Cal-Fire or return to being a stand-alone district, as the current board recently voted by a slim margin?  We interviewed a representative from  each of the two slates running for our East County Magazine Radio Show on KNSJ. Listen now by clicking the orange audio link.

 In this heated session,  incumbent Bill  Kiel, a retired engineer, makes the case for staying with Cal-Fire, while retired fire chief Kim Raddatz argues for giving Cal-Fire the boot and returning to an independent district.  Each side claims their position will be best for taxpayers and public safety.  One side is backed by Cal-Fire firefighters, the other by leaders of the former San Miguel firefighters.

Audio: 

I-805 RAMP TO 52 EAST CLOSED FOR EMERGENCY REPAIR

 

On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, Caltrans requested an emergency road closure for bridge repairs to be done on the transition road from southbound I-805 to eastbound SR-52.

Beginning immediately, the transition from southbound I-805 to eastbound SR-52 is closed to allow Caltrans to conduct their work.  The transition road is expected to be re-opened tonight around 2000 hours.

SAN DIEGO REGIONAL FIRE FOUNDATION AWARDS $280,000 TO LOCAL FIRE AGENCIES

 

Source: San Diego Fire Foundation

October 27, 2016 (San Diego) - During this year’s Fire Prevention Week, the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation presented grant checks to a dozen local fire agencies at open house events around the county.

“These grants enable fire departments to obtain needed fire and medical/rescue equipment and to provide training to ensure our firefighters can deliver the highest level of service to all San Diego County communities,” said Fire Foundation Chairman Frank Ault.  “Each year, we receive specific requests from agencies targeted for their individual needs.”

DESCANSO RANGER DISTRICT TO BEGIN PRESCRIBED BURN ACTIVITIES

 

East County News Service

October 27, 2016 (Descanso) -- The Descanso Ranger District in Alpine will be conducting prescribed burn activities beginning in October through May 2017, provided weather and fuel moisture conditions permit. Prescribed burns are scheduled to take place in Pine Valley and Mount Laguna, with some work being done around Horsethief rd. The project will cover approximately 500 – 700 acres with the potential for smoke visibility along Sunrise Highway, Japatul Rd and Interstate 8.

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE WINS AWARDS FOR COVERAGE OF BORDER FIRE, COVERT CANYON AND IRAQI IMMIGRANT ISSUES

 

East County News Service

October 27, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery picked up three awards in San Diego Press Club’s 2016 Excellence in Journalism Awards competition.

Our entry titled “Border Fire Leaves Residents Burned Over Bureaucratic Bungling” won the Wildcard category; this year the wildcard topic was “life on the border.”  Our media outlet beat out media in all categories for this prestigious award including TV, radio, newspapers and magazines countywide.

BRUSH FIRE IN ELCAJON

 

Photo credit:  Dave Nunes

October 24, 2016 (El Cajon) -- A SIG Alert has been issued for I-8 east due to a two-acre brush fire burning alongside the freeway just east of Greenfield in unincorporated El Cajon. The fire is burning uphill toward the Wal-Mart store, according to the CHP incident page.

ECM has a reporter en route to the scene; check back for details.

DUELING SLATES VIE FOR SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD: ALL 9 CANDIDATES SPEAK OUT AT HEATED CANDIDATE FORUM IN CREST

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 20, 2016 (Crest) – The stakes are high in the San Miguel Fire Board race. In July, the board majority voted to axe a contract that outsourced firefighting to Cal Fire, entered into back when property tax revenues had plummeted in the recession and the district had shut down a fire station.  Now four candidates want to undo the recent vote and keep the deal with Cal Fire, while four others are running to restore local control.  The ninth candidate says he hasn’t made up his mind.  There are four seats up for grabs.

All nine appeared at a candidate forum tonight in Crest, a town that burned in the 2003 fires and where residents pay a higher assessment for fire services than any other fire district locally.

CHIEF’S CORNER: A DEDICATION AND REMINDER THAT SANTA ANA WINDS ARE COMING!

 

 

Dedicated to the Men of Engine Company 57

“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was home in Orange County leaving for work in Los Angeles. I could see the large plume of smoke to the east. In a matter of moments it intensified. The plumb expanded and rose quickly into the atmosphere. I knew something went bad. I didn’t think it was this bad… Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna”

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

October 17, 2016 (San Diego) -- October 26th 2006, 1:11 a.m. Santa Ana winds stirred across the southland.

A Red Flag warning had been identified and was in effect. A high probability for large fire growth was in effect as conditions were high temperatures, low humidity, and Santa Ana winds.

MEET THE CANDIDATES FOR SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD

 

East County News Service

October 17, 2016 (Crest) — The Crest Fire Safe Council invites you to meet candidates running for San Miguel Fire Board at the Crest Community Clubhouse (113 North Park Road in the Crest community of unincorporated El Cajon) on Wednesday, October 19 at 7 p.m.

CHIFE’S CORNER: FIRE PREVENTION WEEK

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

October 11, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

OFFICIALS MEET WITH POTRERO RESIDENTS ON BORDER FIRE CONCERNS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 6, 2016 (Potrero)—Supervisor Dianne Jacob convened a meeting at the Potrero Library on September 27th ,  where officials from Cal Fire, the Sheriff’s department,County Animal Services and the Office of Emergency Services responded to concerns raised by residents during the Border Fire.

Verizon, AT&T and SDG&E were also on hand with information on communications issues and power outages.

LAST DOG BELONGING TO BORDER FIRE VICTIMS FINDS ADOPTIVE HOME

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 4, 2016 (Potrero) – “Finally! Kendrick was the last of the dogs at our shelter in Bonita which were rescued from the Border Fire in Potrero in June, “San Diego Animal Services posted on Facebook yesterday.

According to Animal Services, “The young man in the photo met Kendrick a few weeks ago and couldn't get him off his mind. His mom said if they came back on Saturday (October 1st) and Kendrick was still here, he could have him for his birthday which is this week. Kendrick hit it off with this family right away and was happy to leave with them today! His new family is going to take him on lots of hikes on the trail near their home!”

7.0 EARTHQUAKE POSSIBLE IN NEXT FEW DAYS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

 

East County News Service

September 30,2016 (San Diego) –Following a swarm of recent small magnitude earthquakes that began on Monday near the Salton Sea in Southern California, the California Office of Emergency Services (OES) has issued an advisory that there is a small chance that an earthquake measuring 7.0 or  more on the Richter scale could occur on the San Andreas fault before October 4.

The advisory warning includes San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, Kern , Imperial and Ventura counties.

ALPINE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT TO BOLSTER FIRE PREVENTION EFFORTS WITH FM GLOBAL GRANT

 

Source:  Fire Chief Bill F. Paskle, Fire Chief,  Alpine Protection District

Photo: By AFPD.  FM Global’s Jay Koo presents a plaque to Alpine Fire Protection District Fire Chief Bill Paskle.  Left to Right, AFPD Fire Chief Bill Paskle, Jay Koo from FM Global, AFPD Fire Marshal Jason McBroom.

September 21, 2016  (Alpine)
The Alpine Fire Protection District has received a $2,194 fire prevention grant from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers.

INTERNAL INVESTIGATION INTO DEPUTIES' ACTIONS AFTER BORDER FIRE FIND “NO VIOLATIONS”; CITIZENS VOICE ANGER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Nadin Abbott, Reporting San Diego;Volunteer searchers combed burned property where two bodies were located after Sheriff's declined to search hills behind couple's home

September 18, 2016  (San Diego’s East County)—Campo resident Claudia Millerbragg  asked the Sheriff’s Department on July 2nd  to launch an internal investigation into what she and other residents described as  rude unprofessional treatment by Sheriff’s officials.  She says three other residents also spoke with the internal affairs

Frustrating by deputies’ lack of response to citizens’ concerns about two missing people after the Border Fire, Millerbragg was present with other local women who launched their own search and within 10 minutes,  found bodies of the missing couple huddled between boulders behind their home.

Now a  Sheriff’s internal investigation  into the matter has closed, with a disposition of “unfounded” in part and “exonerated” in part. The finding has left residents frustrated over the apparent lack of resolution of their concerns.

FIRE IN CUYAMACA

Update 3 p.m.:  Forward spread is stopped at six acres; fire is 25% contained, per Cal Fire.

Update 2:45 p.m.: Cal Fire reports the fire is now six acres and that crews are making good progress.

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2016 (Cuyamaca Rancho State Park)--1:30 p.m.--A brush fire is burning in the Cuyamaca  Area, multiple sources confirm. A post at WildlandFire.com, a firefighters' discussion forum, indicates the fire started at Harrison Park Road and State Route 79,  burning at least three to five acres so far and moving into timber. 

An air tanker is dropping retardant and two structures are threatened,the post indicates, though there is no official confirmation yet of structure threat.

A caller to ECM reported smoke in the area.  In addition,Trevor Rathfon tweeted a photo ofsmoke behind Lake Cuyamaca indicated,"Fire season has officialy begun."

If you have details on this fire please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY DID THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT REPORT MEETINGS WITH RESIDENTS WHEN NONE HAVE OCCURRED?

 

By Jan Hedlun, Potrero resident

Note:  Hedlun sent this on Sept. 14 to San Diego Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Boudreau, with copies to Supervisor Dianne Jacob and ECM.  She’s granted permission to run this as an open letter/reader’s editorial.

Re:  Regional Fire Safe Council Meeting/Potrero

September 16, 2016 (Potrero) -- My name is Jan Hedlun and I am a Potrero resident and an elected member of the Potrero Community Planning Group. I was speaking to Bob Buerer who attended the recent Regional Fire Safe Council meeting on Thursday, September 8th who told me something deeply disturbing.

WHITEWASH? COUNTY’S BORDER FIRE REPORT IGNORES SERIOUS CONCERNS RAISED BY RESIDENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Richard Edwords: Harrowing ride along State Route 94 during Border Fire

Sept. 27 meeting at 2 pm set in Potrero Library on Border Fire issues; angering working residents who want their concerns heard

September 15,2016  (San Diego’s East County) – The County’s Border Fire 2016 After Action Report  presents a review on the regional response to the Border Fire that ignores many serious complaints lodged by rural residents in the fire. The report was written entirely by official agencies and  does not include concerns raised by the public, leading rural planning officials,  residents and a community news editor to contend the county whitewashed their concerns.

 The blaze killed two people , destroyed five homes and left countless animals without care in triple-digit heat while residents were refused access  for days after the fire. While residents praise efforts of firefighters who worked valiantly to prevent worse losses, many feel betrayed by officials in the wake of the Border Fire report and other complaints that residents say have yielded little or no meaningful changes.

The report omits entirely any mention of controversies over the deaths of Potrero residents Jim and Kyrie Keefe,  whose bodies were found by community volunteers.  Agencies praised themselves in the report, while omitting criticisms on issues such as lack of  adequate care for animals stranded in triple-digit heat and inadequate evacuation notifications -- in some cases, just yellow caution tape stuck on mailboxes, with no explanation or direct contact with residents in danger.

CHIEF'S CORNER: WHAT WILDFIRES AND MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HAVE IN COMMON. IS YOUR HOME A CATCHER'S MITT?

 

By Sam DiGiovanna

September 12, 2016 (San Diego) -- Some would say they strike fast and hit hard. That most occur in the 'outfield" and not on my home turf.  Or that the MLB Playoffs are in the fall and so are our Santa Ana winds. But what homeowners should be most concerned about is if their home is a “catcher’s mitt!”

ALPINE FIRE IMPROVES ISO INSURANCE RATING; HOMEOWNERS AND BUSINESS COULD SEE LOWER INSURANCE RATES

 

Source: Alpine Fire

September 11, 2016 (Alpine) – The Alpine Fire Protection District (AFPD) recently improved its rating from a national insurance risk company, which may result in lower insurance coverage rates residents and business owners in the District.  The District was recently notified by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) that after a recent re-evaluation of the AFPD a rating of 2/2Y will be effective September 1, 2016.

TEEN ARRESTED FOR ARSON IN POINTE FIRE

 

East County News Service

Photo by Kristin Kjaero

September 5, 2016 (Spring Valley) – A 17-year-old was arrested yesterday and is being charged with willfully and maliciously setting fire to forest land, CAL FIRE reports.  The juvenile is believed to be responsible for starting the Pointe Fire on August 17th, which charred 25 acres in Spring Valley, forced evacuation of homes, put the public at risk and injured a firefighter.

EARTHTALK®: SMOKE WAVES FROM WILDFIRES ARE HAZARDOUS TO HEALTH

 

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

Photo: Smoke waves can radiate out for hundreds of miles from wildfires, spreading particulate matter and causing health problems for millions of Americans who think they are safe and far from the fire lines. Credit: Dave Thomas, Flickr CC.

September 2, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Dear EarthTalk: What are “smoke waves” from wildfires and how can they be hazardous for our health? -- Doug Jenkins, Big Sandy, TX

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