Wildfire News

FIRE OFFICIALS SAY SHOCKEY FIRE CAUSE CAN'T BE DETERMINED; PRAISE CAMPO RESIDENTS FOR SAVING HOMES

By Miriam Raftery

Cal Fire Captain Richard Stephan

October 27, 2008 (Campo) - The cause of the Shockey Fire,
which burned approximately 400 acres on October 15, will likely never be conclusively
determined, California Fire and Forestry  (Cal Fire) officials informed East County Magazine’s
editor during a recent visit at Campo’s fire station.

THE RENO REPORT: MORNING HAS BROKEN

By Jamie Reno
Exclusive for East County Magazine

Jamie RenoOctober 15, 2008 (Tierrasanta) - Morning has broken. As the sun rises over the East County, a sense of calm permeates my body. Yesterday morning, when I started writing this column for East County Magazine on the new fire threats, it was a different story. I was filled with anxiety. The theme of the piece I was about to write had pretty much been decided for me: Oh, no, here we go again!

HIGHWAYS OPEN, FIRES 100% CONTAINED IN CAMPO AND RANCHO BERNARDO; FIREFIGHTERS STILL BATTLE JULIET BLAZE

October 14, 2008, 11:00 p.m. -- All major highways in San Diego County are open tonight.
The Juliet Fire, which burned 3,980 acres in the Oceanside area after spreading from Camp Pendleton, is now 60% contained and evacuation orders in Fallbrook have been lifted. The Shockey Fire in Campo is 100% contained after burning 200 acres. A small fire in Rancho Bernardo has also been extinguished. A red flag alert for high fire danger remains in effect through 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

NEW FIRES BREAK OUT IN RANCHO BERNARDO AND OCEANSIDE, I-5 CLOSED

October 14 (12:30 p.m.) - Santa Ana winds are fueling new fires in several
portions of San Diego County, forcing closure of several major highways and
evacuations in the Rancho Bernardo, Oceanside, Fallbrook and Campo areas last
night and today.

Police have ordered evacuation of homes on the west side of a fire on a hillside
at Camino del Norte and Camino San Bernardo in the 4S Ranch area near Rancho
Bernardo. Two helicopters are dropping water on the flames; fire engines and
ground crews are also dousing hot spots. Details and video: www.cbs8.com/stories/story.143243.html.

FIRE NEAR CAMPO 50% CONTAINED, HWYS 94 AND 8 CLOSED, 400 EVACUATED

October 13 (Campo) 9:30 a.m. -- Three hundred homes have been ordered to evacuate due to a 100-acre wildfire that began at Highway 94 near Shockey Truck Trail. The blaze has burned 100 areas on both sides of 94 and is 50% contained. No structures have been lost. Evacuation centers have been established at at the Potrero Library and Mountain Empire High School.

4,000 FLEE FIRES IN PENDLETON, OCEANSIDE, FALLBROOK

Fire in North County. Photo by Corina Squires

October 14 (Camp Pendleton) 12:10 p.m. - The third blaze in there weeks to
strike Camp Pendleton has charred over 1,500 acres, forcing evacution of over
4,000 people from Oceanside as well as base housing. Some schools in Oceanside
may be closed tomorrow, ECM has learned.

The Juliet fire forced evacuation of Serra Mesa Housing and San Luis Rey Housing
on the base, authorities at Camp Pendleton told ECM. As flames spread to the
northeast tonight, a second fire broke out near Fallbrook. The City of Oceanside
has announced that mandatory evacuations are now in effect for the East end
of Sleeping Indian to include Wilshire, Indian Trail, Hidden Valley and Camino
Baja Cerro.

SDG&E THREAT TO CUT POWER DURING FIRE DANGER SPARKS HEATED OUTCRY AMONG EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS

Large crowd likely at CPUC meeting Tuesday in San Diego

By Miriam Raftery

October 13, 2008 (San Diego’s East County) - Backcountry residents
are reacting with shock,  praise and outrage to a notice sent by San Diego
Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to 45,000 customers warning that power lines
may be shut off when fire danger is high.  With red flag warnings issued
by the National Weather Service through Tuesday night, thousands of East County
and North County residents may find themselves without power Monday or Tuesday.

“Many of my neighbors are up in arms. The guy next to me has about 280
acres, and he’s about ready to storm Washington,” said Bill Root,
an Alpine resident who relies on power from SDG&E to pump well water that
sustains his horses and other livestock as well as his family. 

HIGH FIRE DANGER, SANTA ANA WINDS STARTING TONIGHT

CAL Fire gears up with extra airpower, asks homeowners to take defensive
steps;
SDG&E may cut power in high-risk areas

Story and photos by
Miriam Raftery

October 12, 2008 (El Cajon) - CAL Fire has issued a warning that the
danger of wildfire is high due to forecasts of Santa Ana winds starting tonight
combined with already hot, dry conditions in San Diego’s East County.

“We
provide the offense,” CAL Fire Batallion Chief Ray Chaney said at a press
conference this morning, where reporters received a briefing on preparations
being made to battle a major conflagration.  “It’s up to homeowners
to provide the defense.”

A FIERY ARGUMENT

Fire Chief, City and County leaders debate pros and cons of fire
tax

By Miriam Raftery

2007 San Diego wildfires destroyed over 3,400 structures
and killed 15
people (photo: La Mesa Fire Dept.)

October
1, 2008 (SAN DIEGO) -
“We have to stop turning to others
to solve our problems,” said Ron Roberts, Chair of  San Diego’s
Board of Supervisors.  He urged voters to support Proposition A, the fire
parcel tax initiative on the November ballot.

 “The most recent state budget had money for 150 new fire trucks.
We expected 15.  We were told we would get five,” Roberts added,
noting that during the 2007 firestorms, only three aircraft fought fires locally
during the crucial first 24 hours: all San Diego city and county helicopters. 

PENDLETON FIRE 100% CONTAINED

October 9, 2008 (Camp Pendleton) 9:30 a.m. -- A wildfire that began late yesterday afternoon at Camp Pendleton is now 100% contained, though firefighters continue to douse hotspots.

"Between 900 and 1,000 acres have burned," Major Kristen Lasica, Public affairs officer told East County Magazine last night. ECM activated our wildfire alert system last night after learning that aircraft including super scoopers were grounded for the night with the fire then 0% contained.

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"HISTORIC" AGREEMENT SIGNED: ALLOWS NIGHT-FLYING HELICOPTERS TO FIGHT WILDFIRES ON STATE LANDS IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarmon shakes
hands with CAL-FIRE Chief Howard Windsor as Mayor Jerry Sanders looks on

October 1, 2008 (El Cajon) -- “This
is a historic occasion,”  said Fire Chief Howard
Windsor with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL
FIRE).  Speaking at the San Diego Sheriff’s facility at Gillespie
Field in El Cajon, Windsor announced an agreement with San Diego Fire-Rescue
Department allowing CAL FIRE use of San Diego City-owned helicopters to fly
night firefighting missions on state wild lands in East County. 

7 BANDS HOLD CONCERT TO HELP FIRE VICTIMS OCT 4

ROC For Fire Relief Concert and Fire Expo Helps Neighbors, Celebrates
Heroes

Saturday, October 4th, 2008
12:00pm to 10:00pm
Lakeside Rodeo Grounds, Lakeside
www.rocsd.net
Listen to music from
the bands.

 

October 1, 2008 (Lakeside) - “Relief is still needed in a serious way,” said Randy Seol of
the band Strawberry Alarm Clock, a longtime San Diego resident who watched
in horror with the rest of us as our county was ravaged by the 2003 and 2007
wildfires. Some fire survivors are now losing their FEMA trailers; many
are struggling in severe financial and emotional need to rebuild their lives,
he added. 

A Firestorm of Controversy - Still No County Fire Department Five Years After Cedar Blaze

Ballot measure will ask voters to approve tax for fire services

By E.A. Barrera



"Given the existing high-risk conditions that are projected to continue into the future, destructive firestorms will certainly occur again. Yet, even armed with this knowledge and after the Cedar Fire wake-up call, the San Diego region is woefully unprepared." - San Diego County Grand Jury, May 29, 2008

September 1, 2009 (East County)--October will mark the first anniversary of the Witch Creek Fires and fifth anniversary of the deadlier Cedar Fire.  Four years have passed since voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition "C" which called for a Countywide Fire Department.  Yet the County of San Diego is still at the nascent stage of organizing collective fire departments of the region into one unified command structure.

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