San Diego County Fires October 23, 2007 (UPDATED 1955)
(I'll be making updates to this post today, same as yesterday Scroll down. If you have something to tell me, comment or email danmelson (at) the domain name).
10-23-07 3:12 a.m. Mandatory reverse 911 calls have been issued for North Jamul and Indian Springs. The fire is located near Hwy 94. The evacuation center for this area is Qualcomm Stadium. Reverse 911 calls have been made to 1,549 residents.
These areas are east of Otay Lakes. Probably part of the same burn area I observed there yesterday afternoon.
The Sheriff's Dept. is reporting that in Fallbrook the fire is moving east towards De Luz Rd. and fire crews continue to evacuate homes ahead of the fire.
This is in North County west of i-15
10-23-07, 2:45 a.m. Reverse 911 calls are being sent out at the request of Lakeside Fire for all of Wildcat Canyon and Muth Valley south to Willow Road. Evacuations are mandatory and there are 3,780 calls being sent out. Evacuees are being directed to Santana High School.
1:57 a.m. CHP says there is a fire at 3-mile marker of Wildcat Canyon Road . They are describing the fire as 300 yards wide and the "whole side of mountain." Units on scene right now. Also, there are reports of fire coming down the mountain into San Miguel area. Flare-ups at the following locations:
Honey Springs and Deerhorn Valley, Dulzura,
Aqua Tivia and fire crews are evacuating Point Parkway Map 1291, F2
This is close to my specialty area, but east of highway 67 heading up towards Ramona and San Diego Country Estates. Wildcat Canyon is where Barona Casino is.
San Miguel Mountain is about 12 miles south of there, and it relates more to the Jamul area information above. Honey Springs, Deerhorn Valley, Dulzura and Agua Tivia are much further east, along Highway 94.
According to CALFIRE, a new fire is burning in the area of the La Jolla Indian Reservation. The fire was reported at 4:10 a.m. Several structures are burning. At least 150 acres involved. The reservation has been closed, and people are being evacuated to the Palomar Observatory. CALFIRE and U.S. Forest Service crews are battling the blaze.
This is along Interstate 8 past Pine Valley, near the Golden Acorn Casino if you've driven the area.
Just got an advisory on TV that reverse 911 calls are going out to Spring Valley. This would be the area around Sweetwater Reservoir. I'm seeing pictures of a long burn line, at least a mile long. Looks like theres an evacuation for the Casa De Oro neighborhood as well, just South of CA 94 East of 125. (just found area definition for the first area:
Mandatory evacuations have been announced for the area of Highway 125 and San Miguel Road south of Sweetwater Reservoir. Evacuated residents are being told to go to the Chula Vista High School Youth Center (campus of Chula Vista High School, 465 L Street).)
Witch Fire Evacuation Area (burning in the area of I-15) now goes all the way to the ocean south of CA 78, and I just heard on TV that they'd evacuating parts of Camp Pendleton as well.
Road Closures South County:
SR-94 is closed between Otay Lakes Road and Forest Gate Road.
Honey Springs road at Lyons Valley Road.
(This is the San Miguel/Jamul Area)
Campo: (Far east Couty)
All roads west of Forrest Gate Road and East of Otay Lakes Road.
Viejas: (Alpine to Guatay)
Eastbound I-8 is closed at Willows Road, Westbound I-8 is closed at SR 79.
East Victoria between Otto & Overland Passage Road.
Buckman Springs: (Far Eat County)
Eastbound I-8 at Buckman Springs Rest Area.
SR 94 at Melody
(This isn't Otay, it's Jamul, where Proctor Valley Road goes up the hill)
Proctor Valley Road within the City of Chula Vista.
Ramona: (this is north and east of me)
SR 78 at Magnolia Avenue.
Wildcat Canyon Rd, Willow Road to Ramona.
Julian: (folks outside the county, look at the intersections of CA 78 and CA 79, Zip 92036)
Fire is burning on Eagle Peak at 7MM, west of Pine Hills Road.
Tree down at Detrich Way between Oak Grove Drive and Blue Jay.
Lakeside: (This is all the way to downtown Lakeside, such as it is, within about 5 miles of my office)
SR 67 is closed to Northbound traffic @ Mapleview.
Ashwood and Mapelview Closed
San Pasqual: (East of I-15 and Escondido. This is where the Wild Animal Park is, which I've heard is safe, but can't find a link)
Eastbound SR 78 at Bear Valley Parkway.
San Pasqual Valley Road, Joe Bandy Canyon Road & 78/Weekend Villa.
Rancho San Diego: (This wasn't near any fires I saw, but is on the edge of urban area in southeast El Cajon)
Large Tree is down on Willow Glen at Hillsdale due to winds.
Elfin Forest: (East of 15, south of 78, north of Del Dios)
A power pole with live wires is down at Country Club Lane.
Valley Center: (northeast of Escondido)
There is a tree in the roadway on SR-76 at Red Gate.
Rancho Santa Fe: (West of I-15)
El Montevideo at Paseo Delicias.
Fallbrook: (near the northern end of the county, west of I-15. A separate fire is threatening)
Old 395 at Hwy 76 and East Mission - both ends.
Reche Road from Gird to Old 395.
Just to reiterate ALL CITY AND COUNTY SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED
At least 500 homes destroyed by the Witch Creek (Witch) Fire, and 250 damaged
The head of the fire, blown west from Poway by savage Santa Ana winds, had been headed for Fairbanks Ranch but took a turn southwest toward Del Mar Heights and Solana Beach, where residents also were told to evacuate. Carmel Mountain Ranch and 4-S Ranch also are considered threatened.
The south end of the fire has been pushing toward Lakeside, western Alpine, Peutz Valley and Harbison Canyon, but has not reached any of those communities, said Capt. Don Camp of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
I'll probably go up one of the hills in my area to see what I can see on the way to the office a little later. My home area (San Diego/La Mesa Border, near SDSU) is not threatened, nor does any of the areas on the way to the office appear to be.
UPDATE 1 (0745) National Weather Service appears to be calling for the Santa Ana to be gone, and a more normal wind pattern.
As I said yesterday, this is both the beginning of the end for the fire, and a VERY tricky time. Just because the fire appears to have passed now, does not mean the danger is gone. Windshift is a very nasty time for firefighters, and aircraft as well. It's what killed firefighters four years ago. Furthermore, it'll be being driven back up towards higher ground.
The newer and smaller fires that haven't burned so much of what's going to be their backtrail will likely be more dangerous now than the two huge ones (Harris and Witch Creek), but with moister Pacific winds as well as much slower, if we can get past the windshift things will likely get a lot better, faster, than if it wasn't shifting.
UPDATE 2 (1045) I went up on Mt Helix (a 1400 foot molehill, but it's close and offers a good view south and east). Took several pictures, chose the best two. The first is looking almost straight south, towards Mt. San Miguel It appears that the Harris Fire has crested the ridge and started down towards Spring Valley.
The second is from a few feet away, looking ESE towards Lyon's Peak, you can see the plume of the eastern arm of this fire. It's spread out in two arms over at least twenty miles.
(If demand slows my servers too much, I'll remove these)
I drove up onto the flank of Cowles Mountain as well, but I couldn't see anything significant to the north. The smoke obscured everything. Being completely unwilling to get in the way of those fighting the blaze, these are as close as I'm going to get.
There are reports that the fire was moving towards Bonita, which I warned of last night.
I heard a news report on the radio that the 15 is open, but they are evacuating Valley Center and Lawrence Welk Village. All roads into Valley Center are closed unless you're an emergency vehicle, but you can get out. This has to do with the new fire, which evidently I misunderstood the location of. It's in North County, near the 76 east of 15.
From the county emergency site, which took a long time to load, so I'm porting it verbatim:
10-23-07 9:12 a.m. Del Mar Evacuations. A mandatory evacuation is ordered for the following areas within the City of Del Mar; All areas east of Crest Road; San Dieguito Road; Oribia Road; Avenida Primavera (along Crest Road); Serpentine Drive; Gatun Street; Balboa Avenue; Zapo Street
Other areas of the city have not been issued a mandatory evacuation order. However, it is strongly suggested that all residents pack necessary belongings and be prepared to evacuate if a mandatory order is issued. Del Mar residents who are unable to self-evacuate should call 858-704-3694.
Solana Beach Evacuations: A voluntary evacuation is strongly recommended for the following areas within the City of Solana Beach: All areas east of Interstate 5 (I-5); Areas along the north border of the city, between I-5 and Highway 101
10-23-07 9:30 a.m. All areas west of the active fires in San Diego County will be impacted by the smoke. Air quality will be the worst in and around the fires and will also be very poor downwind of the fires. The air quality levels of particulate pollution in these areas will be in the unhealthy to hazardous range. In areas that are not directly downwind of the fires, air quality levels will range from moderate to unhealthy. People living or working in these areas should take caution and attempt to protect themselves as much as possible. Air quality will be significantly better in areas east of the fires, with levels ranging from good to moderate.
10-23-07 9:13 a.m. Fiesta Island has room for horses accompanied by their owners. No corrals are available at this time, but the San Diego County Department of Animal Services has made food and water available for the animals. Owners wishing to utilize this safe location must be prepared to stay with their horses.
Del Mar and Solana Beach are coastal North County (Zip 92014 for Del Mar). Fiesta Island is in the middle of Mission Bay.
UPDATE 3 (1130)
The forecast from this morning for shifting winds does not appear to be happening inland.
Crest, Harbison Canyon and Alpine (east of me) and some areas on the eastern edge of Chula Vista are now being subjected to mandatory evacuation
Witch Creek Fire: 165,000 acres burned, threatening Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Escondido, Lakeside, Valley Center San Marcos and Rancho Santa Fe. Wide and deep - Lakeside at the south end is thrity miles from Valley Center at the north end, and Rancho Santa Fe is probably 15 miles further west than either one of those., and San Marcos is north of that. 1500 fighters on the job, and while I-15 is supposed to be open, it's a crawl by all reports. CA 67 is closed from Poway to Ramona. 500 homes destroyed, 250 damaged (numbers unchanged from earlier) 100 commercial structures gone.
Harris Fire: 70,000 acres burned, threatening Jamul, Spring Valley, Chula Vista and Bonita, as well as numerous small communities in east county, as far out as Tecate and Cameron Corners, a distance of about 30 miles east west. 200 homes destroyed, 275 fighters. CA 94 seems to be closed, from Steele Canyon to Harris Ranch.
Rice Fire: 6100 Acres burned near Fallbrook in north county west of I-15. They're saying an additional 500 homes have been destroyed there. 170 fighters. Threatening Camp Pendleton and Fallbrook, perhaps Bonsall as well.
Poomacha Fire: Started in a structure in the La Jolla Indian Reservation, off 76 east of I-15 This morning. 1000 acres burned, no data on structures destroyed,
I'm also getting information that another fire may have started on the western end of Camp Pendleton, north of Oceanside, on Las Pulgas Road on the base.
Total area reported burned: 242,000 acres, and we're not seeing much containment. That's over 375 square miles.
They're also reporting that a major power transmission line coming in from the east has been disconnected by the fire. Please don't use any energy you don't have a real need for.
UPDATE 4 (1215)
Poway allowing some residents to return
San Diego County Emergency (slow load, so verbatim transcript below)
10-23-07 11:21 a.m. Overall evacuation update. A total of 349,915 Reverse 9-1-1 and AlertSanDiego phone calls have been issued between the County of San Diego and the City of San Diego, informing residents of both advisory and mandatory evacuation orders. Based on 2000 census data, approximately 513,000 people in San Diego County have received a mandatory evacuation order and an additional 12,000 people have been advised to leave their homes.
10-23-07 10:57 a.m. Mandatory evacuation of De Luz area (Fallbrook). Reverse 9-1-1 is being used to issue mandatory evacuation orders to the Fallbrook area. The area boreders are the northern portion of Camp Pendelton on the south, the Riverside County border on the north and includes the community of Rainbow on the east.
Mandatory evacuation of Chula Vista. The police and fire departments are starting mandatory evacuations in the area of Paseo Los Gatos & Paseo Vera Cruz
Fairbanks ranch now under mandatory evacuation as well. There was a rumor that Scripps Ranch residents were being permitted back, but that's evidently false. The county emergency site says that Rancho Bernardo residents can get police escorts to retrieve medicine ONLY.
The Witch fire has evidently reached the Del Dios area, west of I-15, in the vicinity of Lake Hodges
Entire CA 76 Corridor under mandatory evacuation.
No Room At the Inn evidently all available hotel rooms have been filled
UPDATE 5 (1400)
All City Schools are officially closed tomorrow. I expect an announcement about the county schools any time.
San Diego officials are allowing residents to return to parts of Scripps Ranch and Del Mar.
-- South of Via de la Valle, west of Interstate 5, and north of Torrey Pines State Beach
-- South of Beeler Canyon Road, west of Sycamore Canyon Road, east of Interstate 15 and north of MCAS Miramar
So the Scripps Ranch rumor that was false earlier is now true.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has announced the following road closures as of 10/23/07 12:00 PM:
15 NB & SB OFF RAMPS TO MISSION RD CLOSED / PM 50.58
78 HAVERFORD / PM 33.79 - SANTA YSABEL/JCT RTE 79 / PM 51.108
79 78 / PM 20.22 - 76 / PM 27.37
76 MISSION RD / PM 12.472 - OLD 395 / PM 17.012
76 PAUMA RESERVATION / 28.99 - JCT RTE 79 / PM 52.318
67 SCRIPPS POWAY / PM 13.36 - HIGHLAND VALLEY RD / PM 21.348
94 STEELE CANYON / PM 17.352 - FOREST GATE / PM 50.556
The following intersections are closed due to the mandatory evacuation of the San Miguel Ranch neighborhood in eastern Chula Vista:
• Paseo Veracruz and Mt. Miguel Road
• Calle La Quinta and Mt. Miguel Road
Approximately 270 homes are affected.
Chula Vista residents who want updates on the current fire situation can call (619) 397-6399 to hear recorded messages.
The following San Diego County roads were closed today due to the wildfires, according to the California Highway Patrol.
* Northbound I-15 between state Route 78 and the Riverside County line
* State Route 67 at Vigilante Road
* State Route 94 between Steele Canyon Road and Harris Ranch Road
* San Miguel Road at Bonita Road
* Otay Lakes Road at Weste Road.
Here's an official Weather Service Announcement: The Santa Ana is staying today
STRONG AND DAMAGING SANTA ANA WINDS TO CONTINUE... STRONG...HOT...AND DRY SANTA ANA WINDS WILL CONTINUE TODAY ACROSS MUCH OF EXTREME SOUTHWEST CALIFORNIA. WIND GUSTS UP TO 65 CAN BE EXPECTED BELOW AND THROUGH FAVORED PASSES AND CANYONS IN THE MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS. THE OFFSHORE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO DIMINISH GRADUALLY LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH WEDNESDAY. THE SANTA ANA WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO BRING HOT AND DRY CONDITIONS TO THE REGION THROUGH WEDNESDAY...WITH A RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FOR MUCH OF THE REGION. HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS WILL PERSIST FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES DUE TO THE STRONG WINDS. IN ADDITION...AREAS OF SMOKE...AND BLOWING DUST AND SAND WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES BELOW ONE QUARTER MILE AT TIMES.
Cool and interesting: A webcam on Lyon's Peak
Encinitas city officials have ordered the mandatory evacuation of Olivenhain east of Rancho Santa Fe Road and north of El Camino Del Norte, although there are no fires inside the city.
No other evacuations are necessary at this time, city officials said.
Residents will be notified by telephone if the city feels they should leave their homes.
The Encinitas Senior and Community Center, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive, is open as a shelter. It offers food, drinks and restroom facilities. Residents are advised to bring bedding.
Mandatory evacuation for La Jolla Indian Reservation They're saying go to Borrego Springs, not Palomar Observatory!
10-23-07 1:20 p.m. A mandatory evacuation notice has been issued for people in the La Jolla Reservation area. People should go to Borrego Springs. People SHOULD NOT go to the Palomar Mountain Evacuation center. This fire, which was spotted across Highway 76 and established on the south face of Palomar Mountain at the base of Palomar Mountain, is now being referred to as the "POOMACHO FIRE" by CalFire. It is currently 20,000+ acres.
10-23-07 1:03 p.m. Evacuations in Harmony Grove. Reverse 9-1-1 is being used to issue evacuation orders to 1,095 Harmony Grove households
I'm getting a report of a mandatory evacuation of Julian, up in the northeastern area of the county, but no link.
UPDATE 6 (1520)
All Schools Closed for the rest of the week
From the County Emergency Site:
10-23-07 2:17 p.m. Evacuation of Rancho San Diego. Reverse 9-1-1 is being used to issue mandatory evacuation orders to Rancho San Diego households. Residents should evacuate to Qualcomm Stadium.
Evacuation of Pine Hills Road and Wynola Road in Julian. Reverse 9-1-1 is being used to issue evacuation orders to residents of Pine Hills Road and Wynola Road in Julian. Residents should evacuate to Borrego Springs High School.
I'm leaving the office, headed home. Probably a couple more updates. Most of the good useful information I'm getting is from various websites, including, to be fair, Channel 8 and Channel 6. I've gotten so tired of listening to talking heads chasing their tails I've turned the radio off.
UPDATE 7 (1730)
10-23-07 3:26 p.m. Mandatory Evacuation Ramona to Lakeside. A mandatory evacuation notice has been issued for the Hwy 67 Corridor from Ramona to Lakeside.
Evacuation Order North Jamul.10-23-07 5:07 p.m. CORRECTION on Evacuation of Some Areas of Rancho San Diego. In Rancho San Diego, the following areas are under mandatory evacuation:
From Del Rio Road EAST to Steele Canyon Road.
From Fury Lane SOUTH to Millar Ranch Road and Millar Anita Road.
Residents should evacuate to Qualcomm Stadium.
Shelter for horses. Rohr Park in Chula Vista has plenty of room for horses. It is a large community ring in Rohr Park, located at the intersection of 4600 block of Sweetwater Road, near Winnetka Dr. They can handle 50-60 horses and have plenty of water. Evacuees with horses can call Dave Braithwaite. 619-203-1640..
Ramona and Lakeside are north and east of my office. Jamul is about twelve miles south.
Some Good News:
10-23-07 4:17 p.m. All Chula Vista evacuation notices lifted. The City of Chula Vista has lifted all evacuation notices within the city. Residents who evacuated are allowed to return to their homes.
All Solana Beach evacuation notices lifted. The City of Solana Beach has lifted all evacuation notices within the city. Residents who evacuated are allowed to return to their homes.
So the Harris Fire has been stopped there
10-23-07 3:33 p.m. Large Animal Shelter. San Diego County Animal Services has opened a shelter for large animals near Gillespie Field, 1960 Joe Crosson Dr. in El Cajon. Directions: Take East on Hwy 67; exit at Bradley Avenue and turn left; right on Cuyamaca; and left on Weld Blvd. The animal evacuation shelter will be on the right hand side of the road.
updated evacuation and burn maps Note some area outside of the evacuation area of the Harris Fire has actually burned.
Google Incident Map. Appears to be missing the Poomacha fire altogether, which last I heard, was up to 23,000 acres.
Road Closures current as of just before 5pm
Witch Creek Fire has now burned 200000 acres, and is expected to join the 23,000 acre Poomacha fire. They're still saying the Harris Fire is 70,000 acres, but they've been saying that since this morning. No updated figures for the Rice fire west of I-15 north of CA 76.
UPDATE 8 (1955) road closures page (updated). Looks like the heavy action is all in Jamul and West of 15 areound Lake Hodges
6:44 p.m. Mandatory Evacuation For Eagle Peak and Cuyamaca. A mandatory evacuation notice has been issued for Cuyamaca, just north of State Route 79 and Eagle Peak in the Engineers Road area.
This is in east county, along CA 79 north of I-8.
Indian Reservations hit hard (San Diego County has 18 reservations).
I'll wager under-insurance isn't the problem it was in 2003. People need to keep their policies updated to within 20% of the value of the structure in order to get full replacement, and the market has been down, as you know if you're a regular reader, and the insurance companies have been a lot more diligent after the bad publicity of 2003.
an official list of some destroyed homes, So far, only Escondido and Rancho Bernardo.
more fire maps (lot of good stuff.)
Images of the fire today (Witch Fire and Harris Fire) They were right up against where the dense and solidly built up areas in Chula Vista are.
Some good news:
As of 8pm 72,000 acres burned. No homes lost in Eastlake, Spring Valley, Bonita, Sunnyside and Jamul
I think this is likely to be the last update tonight. Figures indicate approximately 300,000 acres burned in San Diego County thus far. That's about 470 square miles. Somewhere in the range of 2000-3000 homes destroyed. Poomacha fire is in a fresh zone with lots of fuel, Harris Fire also except where it's been stopped east of Chula Vista. If the wind shifts tomorrow, both of those could be big trouble. I haven't been able to find out anything about the Rice fire since early this afternoon, so I suspect a large degree of containment. Witch Creek, burning through Rancho Santa Fe is likely to mostly shoot its bolt, because all of the areas around there are more densely populated - less brush, more concrete and asphalt. We'll see tomorrow. Same Bat Time. Same Bat Station. New post. Consumer Oriented Carnival of Real Estate will be here tomorrow, but it's going to be very basic.
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