Fires in San Diego

 Posted by on 26 October 2003 at 6:46 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 262003

As many of you know, Paul and I used to live in San Diego: first in La Jolla, then in Alpine. So when I look at the GeoMac wildfire map, I know all to well just how densely populated so many of the areas affected by the fires are.

The news report only makes the situation sound worse:

Three major fires are cutting a swath through San Diego, in Valley Center, Scripps Ranch and Otay Mesa. Residents and businesses in Kearny Mesa, Scripps Ranch and Tierrasanta have been evacuated. Ten deaths have been confirmed in San Diego County.

One of the fires started near Ramona overnight. The fires have since charred more than 100,000 acres and destroyed hundred of structures.

Officials said that weary firefighters were battling the blazes on several fronts, contending with gusting winds, soaring temperatures and low humidity as they struggle to stop the flames.

“We have everything sent out that we can possibly send out,” said San Diego Fire Department dispatcher Ron Cumbey. “And we are asking for all that we can get.”

The so-called “Cedar” fire started about 7:45 p.m. Saturday near Ramona and swept through parts of Lakeside, jumped Highway 67 and reached Scripps Ranch, said Susan Plese of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Flames jumped from home to home in Scripps Ranch, which authorities said was evacuated by 10 a.m. It is not yet known how many strucutres have been destroyed or damaged there.

The fires soon spread westward toward Interstate 805 and skipped over 805 near State Route 52. Residents and businesses in Tierrasanta and Kearny Mesa have been evacuated. Officials said that a small patch of fire west of 805 near Clairemont Mesa Blvd. has been contained, and it appears that the Clairemont Mesa area will not be immediately affected.

… And so on. My heart goes out to the people affected by the wildfire.

Update: I just found this picture of a firefighter walking along one side of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard while the other side burns. Jesus. The story that accompanies it said:

One victim was found dead in a trailer, one in a motor home and four in vehicles, county sheriff’s spokeswoman Susan Knauss said. Three were killed while trying to escape on foot and two were dead on arrival at local hospitals.

“We were literally running through fire,” said Lisza Pontes, 43, who escaped the fire with her family after the roar of flames woke them at 3:45 a.m. As they drove off, they saw a neighbor’s mobile home explode.

“I was grabbing wet towels. Fire was at our feet,” Pontes said. “It was blazing over our heads and burning everywhere.”


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