CAL FIRE

SAN DIEGO COUNTY FIRE INCREASES STAFFING FOR EXPECTED RAINS

 

Source: CAL FIRE

February 16, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - With the arrival of another powerful winter storm on Friday February 17TH San Diego County Fire (SDCF) is once again taking steps to ensure an aggressive response to weather related incidents.  Although rain is the focus of this week’s storm, high winds are also expected and could potentially bring the threat of downed trees.  

RECALL PAPERS SERVED TO THREE SAN MIGUEL FIRE DIRECTORS

 

By Mike Allen

January 29, 2017 (Spring Valley) -- An already combustible situation at the San Miguel Fire Protection District was made more divisive on January 25th, when three members of the board were served notice that a recall campaign is being mounted to oust them.

CAL FIRE: A LEADER IN FLOOD RESPONSE

 

Source: CAL FIRE

January 21, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - Though CAL FIRE is most often highlighted in its role as a wildland fire fighting agency, the Department’s forces answer the call more than 300,000 times for other emergencies each year.  During the 1990s CAL FIRE was called upon several times to respond to serious flooding in the state. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: “GREAT DEAL OF NOTIFICATION” TO PUBLIC ON SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT BOARD PLANS TO WEIGH STAND-ALONG CONTRACT FOR FIRE SERVICES

 

Board member responds to Robert Perry's editorial: Discussion and possible vote July 6

Photo: Large crowd at a prior SMF meeting on financial issues prior to the contract with Cal Fire

By Theresa McKenna,  Board Member, San Miguel Fire Protection District

As I relayed in my phone conversation with Mr. Perry recently, I personally believe there has been a great deal of notification to the public on this specific topic.  In fact, significantly more notice has been given to the Community than was ever made by the prior Board that voted to contract out fire suppression services.

READER’S EDITORIAL: SAN MIGUEL FIRE TO VOTE JULY 6 ON SPLITTING WITH CAL FIRE: PUBLIC INPUT NEEDED

 

 

Update:  San Miguel Fire Protection District board member Theresa McKenna has responded to Robert Perry's editorial to detail how much notice and discussion has been held on this issue. Read her remarks here.

By Robert Perry, community resident

Photo:  Protest at station closed due to budget gaps back when San Miguel was a stand-alone station, before contracting with Cal Fire. Opinions ran hot on both sides of the partnership deal at that time.

July 2, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) --With zero public input and zero community discussion (thus far) the San Miguel Fire Protection District has an action item on the agenda for the board meeting of July 6, 2016 to "discuss and may approve returning to a stand alone District".  View agenda.

The district has contracted with CAL FIRE the past four years after facing a structural deficit of their own making.  There is one more year of the contract.

BORDER FIRE SURVIVORS SHARE CONCERNS, OUTRAGE AT MEETING WITH SUPERVISOR JACOB, FIRE AND SHERIFF OFFICIALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 30, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Emotions ran high at a community meeting on Border Fire issues convened by Supervisor Dianne Jacob this morning at the Barrett Junction Café in Dulzura.

 Rural residents praised efforts of firefighters, but voiced frustrations and pointed criticisms over problems that arose including lack of adequate care for animals in the evacuated areas and at shelters. communications failures, and inadequate help to locate a missing couple found dead yesterday by volunteer searchers in Potrero.

Jacob  converted a  previously planned coffee with the community event into a forum for the public to air concerns and for officials to respond.  Representatives from Cal Fire and the Sheriff’s Department turned out, but Animal Services did not.  “Not being here is not a good thing,” Jacob said of Animal Services, adding that she has heard many complaints from rural residents about both Animal Services and the Sheriff’s Department.

RESIDENTS HEAR UPDATES ON BORDER FIRE, THANK FIREFIGHTERS AND VOICE SOME CONCERNS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: County Fire Chief Gary Croucher

June 23, 2016 (El Cajon) --At a community meeting Thursday night at the Los Coches Creek Elementary School in El Cajon, fire officials gave a briefing on steps they took to battle the Border Fire, which since Sunday has burned close to 7,400 acres, destroying 5 homes and 11 outbuildings.  

Residents voiced gratitude toward firefighters for  valiant efforts to save homes and lives, also acknowledging much that has improved since the 2003 and 2007 firestorms thanks to better investments in firefighting equipment and technology.

But some voiced concerns over areas they hope to see improved-- notably helping children and young teens forced to evacuate when parents were away at work, slow communications early on about the fire’s progress, animals lacking food and water in the evacuation zone, and inadequate water at Lake Morena for firefighting aircraft due to the city of San Diego draining the reservoir too low.

RURAL FIRE STATIONS GET FOUR NEW QUICK-ATTACK VEHICLES

 

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

June 15, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- San Diego County Fire can now dispatch up to four new quick-attack vehicles to assist CAL FIRE operations when a brush fire breaks out in a hard-to-reach part of the backcountry.

CAL FIRE SUSPENDS BURN PERMITS IN SAN DIEGO AND IMPERIAL COUNTIES

 

Source: CAL FIRE

June 12, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- While recent rains this winter and spring have been a welcome sight in California, drought conditions continue to increase fire danger in the region prompting CAL FIRE to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of San Diego and Imperial Counties. This suspension takes effect June 13, 2016 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris like branches and leaves.

SURGE OF CAL FIRE FIREFIGHTERS HIRED TO PREVENT WILDFIRES

 

Residents urged to prepare for wildfires now

East County News Service

April 20, 2016 (Sacramento) -- With spring now taking hold in California, CAL FIRE is already staffing up for fire season, while focusing the efforts of its crews on preventing large and damaging wildfires. Recent rains have been a welcome sight to drought parched California, but CAL FIRE firefighters are not letting their guard down, instead they are training for another potential busy fire season and working hard to prevent wildfires. Across the State, CAL FIRE has already hired a surge of over 400 additional seasonal firefighters, whose focus includes fire prevention, fuel reduction and defensible space programs.

CUYAMACA COLLEGE POWWOW RETURNS FOR SECOND YEAR ON FEB. 6

 

Source: Cuyamaca College

February 2, 2016 (Rancho San Diego) -- Coral Bradley (photo) may be only barely a teenager at 14, but when it comes to expressing her Native American heritage through dance, she is a seasoned veteran.

COUNTY FIRE, CAL FIRE SWIFTWATER RESCUE TEAMS READY TO RESPOND

East County News Service

January 29, 2016 (San Diego) -- With an unusually intense winter weather season predicted, San Diego County Fire and CAL FIRE have doubled the ranks of swiftwater rescue-trained firefighters this year. CAL FIRE team members and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department fire-rescue helicopter unit are also working together in case they have to pluck someone out of the water from above.

JULIAN GETS NEW PARAMEDIC SERVICE FROM COUNTY AND CAL FIRE

 

Source: County News Service

January 7, 2016 (Julian) -- Julian residents and visitors now have around-the-clock access to paramedic engine service, thanks to an agreement reached among the region’s lead rural fire agencies and Julian fire officials.

 

CAL FIRE CANCELS DAYS OFF FOR FIREFIGHTERS, HAS ALL 18 STATIONS FULLY STAFFED COUNTYWIDE AS FIRES RAGE ACROSS STATE

East County News Service

August 9, 2015 (San Diego's East County)--More than 10,000 firefighters are battling over 17 active wildfires statewide. The largest of these, the Rocky Fire, has consumed nearly 70,000 acres in Lake, Colusa and Yolo Counties. Thunder and lightning continue to spark new fires, while gusty and erratic winds could also create extreme fire growth potential, says Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser, public information officer at CAL FIRE.

While CAL FIRE San Diego continues to support the Northern California wildfires with fire engines, bulldozers, hand crews, and support personnel, Captain Bortisser says, “We are committed to ensuring that firefighting resources are in place here in San Diego County as a top priority.” Days off have been cancelled for all CAL FIRE firefighters and off duty firefighters have been recalled back to work. Additionally, all 18 CAL FIRE stations throughout San Diego County are staffed, he adds.

 CAL FIRE is asking all residents to be careful outdoors. Even simple household chores like cutting dead down dry grass can spark a wildfire if not done the right way with the right tool. To learn more go to www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

Below are updates from CAL FIRE on the wildfires burning statewide as of Friday night:

COUNTY TO CHALLENGE FOREST SERVICE’S REFUSAL TO LAND NEWEST AIR TANKERS IN RAMONA DURING A WILDFIRE

County News Service

Photo: NIFC.gov

Update July 21: Supervisors voted unanimously to ask the Obama administration to take action and allow USFS air tankers to land in Ramona.

July 20, 2015 (Ramona)—The U.S. Forest Service is refusing to fly its newest air tankers in and out of Ramona Air Attack Base – and the Board of Supervisors may turn to the White House for help.  

On Tuesday, July 21 at 9 a.m. Supervisors will consider a proposal from Chairman Bill Horn and Supervisor Dianne Jacob to appeal the decision to the Obama Administration. With the high-risk fall fire season approaching, they say flying the next-gen tankers in and out of Ramona could help save lives and protect property.

SCRIPPS RANCH WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS FORUM SEPT. 26

 

East County News Service

July 19, 2015 (Scripps Ranch)—In 2003, the Cedar Fire destroyed over 200 homes in Scripps Ranch. To make sure residents are better prepared, the Scripps Ranch FireSafe Council will host a Scripps Ranch Wildfire Preparedness Forum on Saturday, September 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Marshall Middle School, 9700 Avenue of Nations in the Scripps Ranch community of San Diego.

I-15 REOPENS AFTER BRUSH FIRE BURNS 30 VEHICLES; DRONES BLAMED FOR HALTING FIREFIGHTING PLANES

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Talia Sclafania, via Twitter

July 18,2015 (San Bernadino County) – A fast-moving brush fire roared out of control yesterday in the Cajon Pass in San Bernadino County, trapping vehicles on the I-15 freeway along the main route from San Diego County to Vegas.  The blaze destroyed two semi-trucks and 18 other vehicles, damaging 10 more.  TV footage showed people fleeing along the side of the freeway and some vehicles turning backwards in what some have dubbed "Carmageddon."

At least two people suffered minor burns. A photo Tweeted by soccer player Talia Slafania, forced to abandon her vehicle, captured the terrifying panorama.

COUNTY, CAL FIRE LAUNCH PARAMEDIC SERVICE AT INTERMOUNTAIN FIRE STATION

 

July 2, 2015 (Ramona) – The San Diego County Fire Authority and CAL FIRE are making a major upgrade to fire and emergency medical services at the County’s Intermountain fire station. Starting July 1, new, around-the-clock paramedic service will be offered for the first time ever. The station is located east of Ramona along CA-78, a main route to Julian.

CAL FIRE, MILITARY STAND BY IN READINESS FOR LIGHTINING FIRES

 

By Miriam Raftery

File photo by Jim Pelley: Vallecitos Lightning Fire

June 26, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – CAL FIRE Captain Kendal Bortisser and County Fire Chief Tony Mecham advise that a plan is in place to ensure additional fire protection for the San Diego region in anticipation of dry thunderstorms and lightning predicted to move through Southern California this weekend.

CAL FIRE SUSPENDS OUTDOOR RESIDENTIAL BURNING

 

June 3, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) -- As drought conditions continue to increase fire danger in the region, CAL FIRE has suspended all burn permits for outdoor open residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of San Diego and Imperial Counties. This suspension takes effect June 1, 2015 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris including branches and leaves.

CAL FIRE ENDS NO-BURN PROCLAMATION

Update April 5, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- Cal Fire has ended the no-burn proclamation due to improving conditions, higher humidity and availability of fire resources..

April 4, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Effective immediately, Cal Fire has issued a no-burn proclamation suspending burning permits and other uses of open fire, except for campfires in established campfire facilities in public campgrounds.

The order is due to the “extreme menace” posed by critical fire weather and acute dryness of vegetation and/or fire suppression forces being heavily committed to control fires, according to Dave Nissan, Deputy Chief of Cal-Fire’s San Diego unit.

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.”

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.

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.

CAL FIRE CHIEF DISPUTES CANDIDATE STATEMENTS IN SAN MIGUEL FIRE RACE

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 22, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—CAL FIRE Tony Mecham, head of the County Fire Authority,  has contacted East County Magazine to dispute statements and factual claims made by two candidates running for the San Miguel Fire District Board in their responses to our candidate questionnaire.  

Chief Mecham states that he is not endorsing any candidate but adds, “There are numerous statements that are factually false.”

COOKING FIRE DAMAGES EL CAJON APARTMENT

 

October 9, 2014 (El Cajon)—Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.  Tuesday, a fire caused by unattended cooking displaced a family of five and caused $100,000 in damage to an apartment in El Cajon. It is considered a total loss.

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