Monday, October 22, 2007

Fire Continues To Burn

Click here for the latest updates.

5:30 am
Rancho Bernardo has now been evacuated. 48 power outtages through out the city. The fire jumped freeway 15 just south of Pomerado at West Bernardo Drive. Parts of freeway 15 are closed.

"The situation has gotten dramatically worse overnight," said Chief Bill Metcalf, the area fire coordinator for the county. Instead of calming, winds increased overnight, pushing the fire westward with flames shooting up to 200 feet in the air, he said.

6:00 am
Evacuations expanded to Del Dios and Rancho Santa Fe.

6:30 am
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for a huge swath totaling 100 square miles and ranging from Interstate 5 on the west across Interstate 15 to the east, and north from state Route 56 to Lake Hodge. Among the communities in the evacuation area are Rancho Sante Fe, Carmel Highlands, Rancho Bernardo, Del Mar Heights and Fairbanks Ranch and parts of Rancho Penasquitos. Qualcomm Stadium set up as evacuation center.

7:00 am
Emergency officials are urging people to avoid using major roads and highways within the county today. With highways already clogged with evacuees and emergency vehicles, authorities asked residents to avoid all non-essential trips, and to stay home from work if possible.

8:00 am
Officials also ask that people keep their cell phone use to a minimum to keep lines open for emergency officials to communicate.

9:00 am
Houses are burning in Rancho Bernardo just off Pomerado Road.

"We have more houses burning than we have people and engine companies to fight them," said San Diego Fire Captain Lisa Blake. "A lot of people are going to lose their homes today," she said.

10:00 AM
250,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.

Dozens of home in Rancho Bernardo are burning and there are now reports that some homes in 4S Ranch are also on fire.
San Diego City Fire spokesman says that fire is burning both north and south of Lake Hodges. He also said there is beginning to be some fire activity in Rancho Santa Fe.

11:00 AM
All of Rancho Santa Fe is now under mandatory evacuation.
"No matter where you live, pay attention, look to the media for updates and be prepared to evacuate" - The Fire Marshall

All Solana Beach residents told be ready to evacuate.

The Navy is asking only essential personnel to report to duty.

The San Diego Wild Animal Park was evacuated at 5 a.m Monday, with a selected group of smaller and endangered animals taken to a veterinary hospital on site. By late morning, the park was enveloped in a blanket of ash and smoke. 30 employees deemed essential were left behind, including keepers, veterinarians and operations staff.

The Del Mar Racetrack's 1,800 horse stalls are full and it's unclear where any more horses will be held. As of 9:45 this morning, there were only 100 stalls left and by 11 a.m., people were told they were full. Officials were bringing horses to the Scream Zone area temporarily and were also considering double-stalling the horses, housing two horses per stall.

After a power outage knocked Clear Channel Communications' nine radio stations off the air earlier today, KOGO AM 600 and its sister stations are back and broadcasting.

Part of Rancho Bernardo Baptist Church, located at West Bernardo Drive and Duenda Road, has burned.

Fire evacuees with motor homes or other large vehicles can go to the Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado or the Torrey Pines or San Elijo state beaches in the North County, officials said.

Cars have been streaming into the Qualcomm parking lot at a steady clip all morning. A concession window was opened, and free slices of pizza and hot dogs were being given out.

Police and fire officials were on hand, as were representatives from the San Diego Blood Bank, which was accepting donations. Lynn Stead, of the San Diego Blood Bank, said they only had a two-day supply of blood.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is encouraging residents and business owners to donate the following items in support of fire evacuation relief efforts at Qualcomm Stadium: prepared foods, water, tents, cots and blankets.

All donations should be delivered to Gate P at the Qualcomm Stadium.

1 pm
Mandatory evacuations ordered for Fallbrook and Valley Center.

As of 1:45 p.m mandatory evacuations are ordered for the folowing area:

Everything south of Scripps Poway Parkway
North of MCAS Miramar
East of Interstate 15
West of Highway 67.

Governor Schwarzenegger held a press conference in San Diego and declared the fires in San Diego to be the worst in the history of California. 800 National Guard Troops will be diverted from the border to help with the fire effort.

3 pm
I hear my neighbour stuggling down the stairs with her suitcase. I went out and helped her load her car. She is packed ready to go. Her daughter and three grand children are in the area and getting antsy. My downstairs neighbour came out and asks us if he think he should evacuate. He has two young children. We compare notes on the news and traffic and decide that the freeways are clogged with a quarter of a million people who under evacuation orders. For now it looks like staying put is the best option.

4 pm

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has directed the California National Guard to increase the troops available to 1,500 guardsmen to the firefighting efforts.

San Diego Sheriffs Department has called for a mandatory evacuation of Scripps Ranch, Harbison Canyon and Crest. All areasd devastated by the 2003 Cedar Fire.

A new evacuation facility has been opened in Orange County for people leaving Fallbrook.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is preparing to evacuate its detention center in Otay Mesa, includes a state prison, a county jail and a juvenile detention facility.

The Mesa Grande Indian reservation was evacuated.

The El Cajon Animal Shelter, will be open today to receive domestic pets and small livestock animals for emergency boarding.

The Westfield Parkway mall, , has opened an area in the Southeast corner to large livestock since Lakeside rodeo grounds have filled. They've also opened up the Northwest section of their mall parking lot for RV's and campers.

The new Home Depot location at 298 Fletcher Parkway, have opened a section of their parking lot to large livestock, RV's & Campers. They also have water available there and port-a-potties available.

Granite Hills High School, located at 1719 E. Madison Avenue has opened their parking lots only for large livestock, RV's and campers.

There is a serious lack of horse trailers to transport these animals. Anyone with an available horse trailer can call the San Diego Animal Support Foundation immediately at 619-847-8755.

Night Time
Shortly after dinner the evacuation area expanded again. I have friends that had evacuated and stayed at the office of their family business. As the evacuation zone moved south they needed a place to stay. The gang has settled in to my place. Rather close quarters but they are upbeat and staying positive. So my apartment is now home to 5 adults and 2 children.

The Pickster and I have headed a bit further south and are staying with my friend Alice in Pacific Beach. We packed up before we left - since if the evacuation zone moves further south we won't be able to return and get our things.

No high-speed internet at my new location so I will probably go quiet now.

Fires Burning in San Diego County

Witch Fire: is 10,000 acres, 0% contained. The fire is still spread westerly. Currently there is 28 engines, 1 dozer, 14 fire crews, 2 water tenders, 18 overhead (369 firefighters). Multiple structures have been destroyed. There have been no injuries to firefighters and one injury to a civilian. Communities threatened: Highland Valley, City of San Diego/Rancho Bernardo, City of Escondido, City of Lakeside, Barona Indian Reservation, City of Poway, Wild Animal Park, Mt. Woodson, Muth Valley. Wind driven fire with spotting up to 1/2 mile. Rapid fire spread burning down hill, down canyon. The fire is burning primarily in unburned fuel between the 2003 Paradise and Cedar Fires.

Coronado Hills/San Marcos: The San Marcos Fire Department says reverse 911 calls were sent out to 4,062 residents in the community of Discovery Hills and the Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at Escondido High School. There are reports of structures burning and more than 200 acres have burned, threatening structures in the Coronado Hills area near California State University at San Marcos.

Mission Fire/Fallbrook: A new fire is being reported at East Mission Rd. and Davis Dr. No further details are available at this time.

Descanso Fire: According to Cal Fire a fire has broken out in the Descanso Valley area near Interstate 8. It has burned 200 acres. No further details are available at this time.

Harris Fire:is 20,000 acres and 5 percent contained. They are currently mapping the fire. Aircraft is periodically grounded due to high winds and visibility. The Southwest Powerline was shut off yesterday and to remain shut for unknown duration of time. San Diego County Sheriff and U. S. Border Patrol are handling immigrant issues including the rescuing, medical treatment, and identification of individuals. Otay Lakes Road is next fire decision making point for impact to San Diego City and Chula Vista. Multiple structures have been destroyed. There are 55 engines, 4 bulldozers, 9 fire crews, 6 helicopters, 5 airtankers (assigned), 6 water tenders (400 firefighters). The cause is still under investigation.

McCoy Fire:is a U.S. Forest Service fire it is at Boulder Creek and Eagle Peak. It is 400 acres and 5% contain. They are looking at full containment on October 23rd. One structure has been destroyed. Currently they have 5 engines, and 3 overhead which is about 30 firefighters. The cause is under investigation. The Rice Fire is 300 acres 0 percent contained. The location is in Rice Canyon in the northern part of San Diego County. The fire started on October 22 at 4:16 am. 250 structures are threatened and 1 has been destroyed. No mandatory evacuations at this time. The cause is under investigation. Firefighters are attempting to keep the fire in the area of Rice Canyon to east, I-15 to the west, Rainbow Heights to north and Hwy 76 to South. The fire is currently burning into agricultural areas.

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