Witch Creek (and North) Day #3 – 06:30 update

| October 24, 2007

Good morning everyone, and welcome back to another day. Last night the winds were mostly calm around the burn areas in sharp contrast to Sunday night and Monday night where the winds picked up speed after midnight. In my opinion this bodes quite well for chances of getting these fires bottled up or at least halting their advances. Over night there have been several developments:

Horno Fire – Camp Pendalton

As reported early yesterday before we lost connection to the web, a fire started yesterday morning in the western region of Camp Pendalton north of Oceanside. The 6,000 acre fire has forced the closure of interstate 5, and is spreading Northwest from Las Pulgas road. Interstate 5 was the last open highway into and out out of San Diego county. Highway Patrol will still escort groups of vehicles across as needed, but it is now closed to general traffic. This has also lead to cancelation of the Metrolink service between Oceanside and Orange County.

Poomacha Fire – Mount Palomar

Information on this fire is still hard to come by, especially the northern and western fronts. Last night fire fighters were predicting that the south edge of this fire would merge with a part of the northern edge of the eastern side of the massive Witch Creek fire at the base of Palomar. For those of you who don’t know, this is the same Palomar where the 200 inch Hale Telescope is based. It is located in the North East part of San Diego County. At 5:30 this morning they began to evacuate Birch Hill near Palomar.

Rice Canyon Fire – Fallbrook Bonsal

Last night there was ash fall up near where the horses are sheltering near Gopher Canyon Road south of Fallbrook. They are still out of the direct fire danger as it currently passes to their north. At 01:25 Fire officials issued calls to evacuate San Luis Rey Heights and Winterwarm on the north side of state Route 76. Residents are being told to use SR-76 heading west away from the fires. This fire seems to be burning west on the north side of 76. Also around midnight last night fire crews began to re-evacuate people who had returned to parts of Fallbrook. Parts of the fire were backtracking to the east and could enter areas missed in the last 2 days. Many Avocado orchards in this area have been totally lost, and what is left could be damaged.

Witch Creek Fire – North County

The massive Witch Creek Fire continues to burn North near Hellhole Canyon Park and Lake Wolford, South in Ramona, East in East towards Julian, which has been evacuated, south towards Pine Grove and the El Capitan Reservoir and in the West in Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch. The good news is that the Santa Ana wind has almost run out of energy and the flames are not being driven by the winds. Some residents are still in Julian though the power is out. Word that the fight against the fire in Harmony Grove late yesterday was successful and they were able to stop the advance. I personally saw at least 10 water dropping aircraft engage this part of the blaze, and it was an impressive sight.

Again, details on these fires are hard to come by as to where they are, what they are burning and how they are moving. I will work to find out more during the course of the day.

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Category: Main, SAN DIEGO EMERGENCIES, San Diego Fires

About the Author ()

Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

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