Welcome to our BlogSpot and thank you for visiting. During emergency incidents you may NOT see updates on the center of the page. On the right side please view the twitter updates.

During large emergencies our Joint Information Center will be activated, citizens with questions or concerns may call 619-590-3160.

San Diego County residents interested in an educational presentation to your community group, please email Michael.Mohler@fire.ca.gov

Monday, August 30, 2010

Burn Patient Transported to Local Hospital

CAL FIRE-Ramona Fire Department responded to a burn victim in the 1300 block of Walnut Street in Ramona. When Firefighters and Paramedics arrived they found a man with significant burns to his upper body.

The employee was performing his normal duties of emptying residual liquid propane gas from several large tanks, when the explosion occurred. The victim was heard by a fellow employee who ran to his aid by tackling him and rolling him on the ground through large puddles of water to extinguish the flames.

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is common to us all for the use in, fireplaces, barbeque's, portable stoves and residential central heating. But there is significant danger if not handled properly. Propane is a three–carbon alkaline, normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid, and it is derived from other petroleum products during oil or natural gas processing.

If not for the quick thinking of his fellow employee the outcome could have been far worse. The patient was stabilized by paramedics on scene and was flown to UCSD, San Diego County’s Regional Burn Center for further treatment.

For more information regarding fire and burn prevention follow the link http://www.burninstitute.org/

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mike Mohler Interviews with KPBS


Hikers trapped by East County brush fire rescued just in time - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Hikers trapped by East County brush fire rescued just in time - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Tactical Flight Officer Gary Kneeshaw describes his ride to safety on the skid of the Astrea Helicopter.

Investigators Determine Cause of EL Monte Fire

Lakeside – Fire Investigators have determined the cause of the Monte Fire to be two juveniles playing with fire. The Monte Fire, which started on August 21st and burned 926 acres, briefly threatened homes near the fire’s origin.

With the abundance of seasonal grasses, there has recently been a rash of fires caused by children playing with matches or lighters in the backcountry. CAL FIRE and the U.S. Forest Service actively work together with children in the schools in the backcountry conducting various fire prevention education programs on the dangers of playing with fire. The agencies also conduct juvenile firesetter intervention programs in the homes of children who are known to have started fires or have been caught playing with fire by family members. Both agencies work with the Burn Institute on Juvenile Fire Play issues. CAL FIRE and the U.S. Forest Service want encourage parents and teachers to discuss with children the consequences of playing with fire.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fire Burns 90 acres on the Cleveland National Forest

Ramona California: Firefighters from throughout San Diego County responded to a fire on the Cleveland National Forest that burned 90 acres in a remote location east of Ramona this afternoon.  CAL FIRE sent 10 fire engines, 2 helicopters, 2 air tankers, 1 air attack, and several Chief Officers to assist the United States Forest Service.   

As of 9:00pm on August 25th the fire is 50% contained with full containment expected tomorrow. As the weather continues to get hotter and drier Fire Chief Howard Windsor want to remind residents to have their 100ft of defensible space. For more information on how you can better prepare you property please visit. www.readyforwildfire.org

Special thanks to CAL FIRE VIP Photographer Jeff Hall for the great photos!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Military Helicopter Training

On August 24th 2010 members of CAL FIRE and the San Diego County Sheriffs Department conducted their annual squadron training with the Knightriders HMM (T) 164. The Knightriders fly the CH-46 medium transport helicopter. (shown above)

How are Military aircraft dispatched to fires?
  • A local State of emergency must exist.
  • The implementation of the DSCA (Defense Support of Civilian Authority) begins.
  • Orders for aircraft are placed through Navy Region Southwest and Military Helicopter Managers are dispatched to each squadron.
  • Flight crews are briefed and dispatched to highest priority incident. 
Since the 2007 Fire Siege
  • A cooperative agreement with the United States Marine Corps has been established and exercised as recently as 2008 Northern CA lightning siege. 
  • Additional military helicopter managers from federal, local and state fire agencies have been trained.
  • Establishment of a new Military Helicopter Coordinator also referred to as a (MILCO). This position allows flexibility in the supervision of military helicopters in the dynamic and extremely hazardous flight environment. 
  • Extensive training regime of USMC and Navy helicopters. This includes field exercises, communication exercises, and command level operation center coordination.
Battalion Chief Chaney, Fire Pilot Tony Weber, Captain Shane Montgomery and the Helitack Crew

Friday, August 20, 2010

Additional Staffing

CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority has increased staffing in the county due to current and expected weather conditions. The National Weather Service forecast for the next few days calls for warm temperatures and low humidity's until Thursday next week. Multiple times a year CAL FIRE enters into what we call a staffing pattern which fortifies resources across the county and across the state. CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority added 5 additional brush engines located in strategic locations in the county. As always we ask the public to exercise extreme caution when participating in outdoor activities.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Air Tactical Group Supervisor Training

Over the past two weeks Fire Captain's specializing in air operations trained as Air Tactical Group Supervisors at the Ramona Air Attack Base. Air Attack 504 is a former Army C-12 twin engine aircraft that CAL FIRE procured through the Federal Excess Property Program. This aircraft was outfitted with numerous fire department radios that allows it to function much like a flying classroom. The Air Tactical Group Supervisor (ATGS) position on a fire plays many roles simultaneously. Part air traffic controller, tactician, and fire forecaster, the ATGS is a key element in establishing strategy and planning with the Incident Commander on the ground. Once the objectives have been determined the ATGS determines the best plan of attack with close air support aircraft. The ATGS is a high functioning multi-tasking position. This position required years of firefighting experience along with an extensive training and lengthy mentoring program.

In the video above ATGS trainee Captain Steve Shoemaker and the senior ATGS instructor Battalion Chief Ray Chaney going through a simulated fire attack of a fire that occurred a few weeks prior to this training flight.

This is an example of a C-12 or Civilian King Air 200 being utilitzed as a training aircraft in the video.

The major responsibilities of the Air Tactical Group Supervisor are:
  • Determine what aircraft (air tankers and helicopters) are operating within the area of assignment.
  • Manage air tactical activities based upon the Incident Action Plan (IAP).
  • Establish and maintain communications and Air Traffic Control, with pilots, Air Operations, Helicopter Coordinator, Air Tanker/Fixed Wing Coordinator, Air Support Group (usually Helibase Manager), and fixed-wing Support Bases.
  • Coordinate approved flights of non-incident aircraft or non-tactical flights in restricted air space area.
  • Obtain information about air traffic external to the incident.
  • Receive reports of non-incident aircraft violating restricted air space area (Operations Section Chief (OPS), Branch Director, or Division/Group Supervisor).
  • Make tactical recommendations to approved ground contact.
  • Inform AIROPS of tactical recommendations affecting the air operations portion of the IAP. 
  • Report on air operations activities to the AIROPS. Advise air operations immediately if aircraft mission assignments are causing conflicts in the Air Traffic Control System. 
  • Report on incidents/accidents.
  • Maintain Unit/Activity Log
Once an Air Tactical Group Supervisor has completed training the ATGS has the ability to be assigned to one of CAL FIRE's 14 Air Tactical Platforms seen below.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Warmer Temperatures Expected This Weekend

The National Weather Service has predicted warmer temperatures this weekend and into early next week. CAL FIRE/San Diego wants to remind the public to always be fire safe and exercise caution when participating in weekend activities. Not only is it important to exercise fire safety but also take precautions to keep you and your families health a priority when the temperatures rise. Below are some basic safety tips you can follow during this type of weather.

Drink Plenty of Fluids
During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.

Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen
Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels) 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.

Monitor Those at High Risk
Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.

Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.

People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.

People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.

People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.

People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.

Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

For further information on warm weather safety tips please visit California Office of Emergency Management.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Firefighter deployed to Gulf as a Coast Guard Reserve.

On April 21st 2010 an oil rig explosion captured the attention of people around the world. Little did most realize the devastating fire would lead to the world’s largest accidental oil spill. According to published reports the spill is three-times the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

As a result on July 4th 2010, the United States Coast Guard activated members of their reserve program including CAL FIRE Firefighter Alex Elward to the Gulf of Mexico. Firefighter Elward has been a reserve with the United States Coast Guard for the past four years and a seasonal firefighter for six years. He is currently working in the Situation Unit.

On August 2nd Alex was promoted to second class petty officer. Retired Admiral Thad Allen and Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen preformed the advancement ceremony.

CAL FIRE Unit Chief Howard Windsor said, “I am proud of Alex’s accomplishments and his commitment to public service.”

Alex is scheduled to return to San Diego in September.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Firefighters Respond to Commercial Structure Fire

On the evening of August 6, 2010, CAL FIRE-Valley Center Fire Department responded to a commercial structure fire at 14814 Cool Valley Road in Valley Center. When firefighters arrived the 10,000 square foot honey processing facility was well involved. Heavy smoke and fire was ventilating through the roof.

Firefighters began advancing attack lines when an explosion occurred blowing out a large roll up door and separating  a bearing wall on the northeast corner of the structure.  Crews attempted an interior attack but were driven back by heavy fire.  A defensive position was taken to protect exposures including surrounding groves, an out building which housed thousands of bees and multiple vehicles.

Heavy overhaul was performed by dozens of firefighters throughout the night extinguishing hot spots as investigators combed the area for clues to the fire's cause.
The following units responded to the incident: Deputy Chief Kevin O'Leary, Battalion Chief Jeff Johnson, Fire Marshal George Lucia, 6 engines companies, 2 water tenders, 1 truck company, and 1 Breathing Support.  CAL FIRE- Valley Center Fire Department would like to thank the following assisting agencies for their quick response: San Diego County Fire Authority, Rincon Reservation Fire Department, San Pasqual Reservation Fire Department, Pala Reservation Fire Department, Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Bomb Arson Team.

As of August 8th 2010 the fire remains under investigation.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Scissors Fire Burns 110 Acres

In the evening hours of July 31st 2010 the Monte Vista Interagency Command Center began receiving 911 reports of 2 vegetation fires on State Route 2 (aka San Felipe Road) 3 miles North of Highway 78.

When firefighters arrived, the fires were burning on both sides of the highway. Due to the size and intensity of both fires, 10 additional fire engines and 2 additional hand crews were requested. The fire actively burned throughout the night toward the Southern border of the Anza Borrego State Park. The fire was fanned by gusty winds and steep terrain.

By morning the fire had consumed 110 acres, though 120 firefighters continued making excellent progress. As the sun began to rise firefighting aircraft arrived at scene and began evaluating the need for an aerial assault. By 6pm August 1st the fire was 100% contained.