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

Friday, September 24, 2010

Heightened Fire Danger

CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority has increased staffing due to the expected weather pattern that will cover San Diego until Tuesday of next week. In addition to daily staffing levels the department has added extra hand crews,water tenders and engines for immediate response throughout the county. This summer has been the coolest summer on record here in San Diego but we all need to be vigilant and not let our guard down especially when we approach our Santa Ana Wind months. CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority wants to remind residents to have defensible space and an evacuation plan that all family members are familiar with it. The "Ready, Set, Go" program is a great resource for the things you will need and a good guideline to get you set up in your home.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

By Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price, County Board of Supervisors & Chief Howard Windsor, CAL FIRE

We can all agree that we must always do more to keep our communities safe from fire.

Recent newspaper articles and radio interviews have made that point. But what hasn’t been discussed as much as it should be, are the many ways to fight fire.

While the region must maintain a ready and well-trained fire-fighting force, a fleet of fire-fighting aircraft and fire trucks, and an advance warning system, a one-faceted approach of attack does not work. This is especially true as it relates to the Wild land Urban Interface (WUI) and the entire region’s overall disaster preparedness. History has shown us that it takes a systematic and balanced approach to successfully fight fires. It takes a commitment to public education, fire safe councils, and fire prevention activities such as defensible space inspections and code development and enforcement to provide for engineering solutions to the overall challenges faced within the WUI.

This means that while our fire trucks are ready to roll, the region must address the fuel load impacts that develop due to the limited fire processes that have been essentially removed from the environment. In short, we have dead, dying and diseased trees ready to burn. Grasslands that grew with the heavy rain are now drying out. You can see that as proud as we are of our firefighters, they need your help.

Firefighters need the public to clear brush from their property. Unfortunately, the environmental pendulum has swung back to the side of no clearing outside the 100-foot defensible space zone. Clearly, pardon the pun, this is not in anyone's best interest.

In the end we will all lose taking this approach, and fire could win. Yet this is exactly where the Chaparral Institute and other similar groups have taken the fight. The county, the state and others are trying to comply with state and federal laws, but these are not processes that move quickly. Property owners cannot wait two or three years to clear brush when dangerous conditions exist today. The overall heat release that comes with the fuel load problems we face in many, if not all areas of the state, are high.

We believe we need to pull the environmental agencies together to come to a reasonable solution. We believe we must develop and expand upon the Memorandum of Understanding – a legal agreement - so that we can deal with critical burn areas now before it is too late.

We believe that together we can arrive at various treatment options, up to, and including prescribed burns. Areas in and around life and property should be addressed first. We strongly believe in meeting quickly and getting the job done.

More fire engines, air resources, and well-trained personnel are always nice to have. County government and other local governments are buying the equipment needed. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has reasonably invested in the foundations of the system, and not to just one element of fire-fighting, as if it were the magic pill.

As a result, the region’s fire-fighting capability is clearly much stronger now than five years ago. Fire-fighters have put down several recent fires. We have had little to no losses since the 2007 fires. But we also know that money cannot solve every problem. And county coffers are not infinite. When it comes to disastrous mega-fires, earthquakes, floods or terrorism, our greatest tool is public education. Citizens must realize the roles and responsibilities they have during and before such dire times.

Some critics believe only a blank check can solve our fire problem. If you believe this is true, and you still think all the money in the world will do the trick, take a look at other cities across the country. All one needs to do is look at any system to see that losses still occur because there are times when fire conditions exceed all reasonable capabilities. To be blunt, you could put the entire New York City Fire Department in front an enormous wildfire and the wildfire can still win.

This year, CAL FIRE has already completed more than 9,700 defensible space inspections in San Diego County. These types of inspections are an extremely valuable part of a systematic approach to wiping out fuel load. Those who live in the back country and on its border must be a part of the solution. This will also make the environment safer for the first responders to perform their duties.

Firefighters need your help in order to protect you. Your life could very well depend on it.

Firefighters Struck by Vehicle

September 9th 2010; two CAL FIRE firefighters working at Deer Springs Station 13 were jogging this morning in Hidden Meadows, when they were stuck by a Jeep at approximately 20 mph. Both firefighters sustained minor to moderate injuries and were transported to Palomar Medical Center for further evaluation. Fire Chief Howard Windsor and Deputy Chief Kelly Zombro were at the hospital to provide words of encouragement and show their support.  The driver of the vehicle was detained by the California Highway Patrol for unrelated warrents.

Cards can be mailed to:           Deer Springs Station 13
                                               Attn: Injured Firefighters
                                               10308 Meadow Glen Way
                                               Escondido, CA 92026

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cowboy Fire: Between the Communities of Campo and Potrero


Type 1 helicopter near  Harris Ranch Road

The Joint information Center has been activated, concerned citizens can call 619-590-3160. For fire updates please view the right side on the screen for twitter updates. Thank you.

9-6-2010  7:00  PM  Update:  The Cowboy fire is now 100% contained. This will be the final update on the fire. To view photos of the Cowboy fire please visit. www.flickr.com/calfiresandiego

9-6-2010  8:00 AM  Update:  The Cowboy Fire remains 827 acres, the containment percentage has increased to 95%. Enjoy your Holiday.

9-5-2010   5:00  PM  Update:  The Cowboy Fire remains 827 acres containment has increased to 90%. Firefighters continue making excellent progress.

9-5-2010   8:00  AM Update:       The Cowboy Fire is 827 acres and 84% contained. We anticipate full containment tonight, with full control on Monday or Tuesday. The cost to date of fighting the fire is $1,879,280. Today’s weather is predicted to be between 90 – 100 degrees, with a wind speed between 10 – 20 mph from the west, the relative humidity is expected to be 15%.

9-4-2010   6:00  PM Update:    The Cowboy Fire is 827 acres and 82% contained. Firefighters will continue to work throughout the night widening and improving containment lines. The demobilization process has begun.

9-4-2010  8:00 AM Update:  The Cowboy Fire is 827 acres and 65% contained. Full containment is expected on September 5th at 6 pm and full control is expected on September 7th at 6 pm.

9-3-2010 5:00 PM Update:  The Cowboy Fire, which started Thursday, September 2nd at 1:13 pm, and burned 822 acres, was started by two illegal aliens who were in distress. They called C4, which is Mexico’s emergency dispatch system and advised them that they had been lost for two days, were stranded, dehydrated, and were going to light a signal fire to attempt to get some help. This information was relayed to the U.S. Border Patrol. CAL FIRE worked with Border Patrol in attempt to locate the individuals, but were unsuccessful, and the two individuals are still at large.

Investigators from CAL FIRE and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined that there was evidence near the area of origin, of illegal aliens traveling through that area, which supports this report.

9-3-2010 12:00 PM Update: The Cowboy Fire is now 42% contained, will full containment projected for Sunday. Smoke can be seen in the area, due to an island of unburned fuel that burned in the middle of the fire. There is no current threat to structures.  Currently there are 48 engines, 35 fire crews, 2 bulldozers, 4 helicopters, 2 helitankers, 4 airtankers, 8 water tenders, 69 overhead for a total of 1,360 firefighters committed to the incident. There have been two minor injuries to firefighters.

Photo by CAL FIRE VIP Photographer Kevin Pack
9-3-2010 5:00 AM Update: Good Morning, the Cowboy fire remains at 719 acres and with 15% containment. The incident command expects the containment will increase even more when the sun rises. Firefighters worked throughout the night in extremely steep terrain and heavy fuel (brush). The joint information center remains open for concerned citizens (619) 590-3160. No road closures are in effect and no home have been damaged. CAL FIRE would like to thank the local community for their support throughout the incident.

Photo by CAL FIRE VIP Photographer Kevin Pack

9-2-2010 9:00 PM Update: The fire 719 acres and 10% contained. No structures have been damaged or destroyed crews will remian on scene throughout the night.

9-2-2010 6:30 PM Update:  The Cowboy Fire is now 300 acres, there is minimal threat to structures, and the fire is currently back burning onto itself. Additional resources have been ordered by the Incident Commander, and firefighters are beginning to make some progress. Firefighters will be working throughout the night, and atomorrow’s day shift has been ordered.

Base Camp has been establish at Potrero County Park.
Two homes along Highway 94 were evacuated by San Diego Sheriff’s Department, and the Sheriff's Department is working with Red Cross if an evacuation center should be needed.