Amid a summer where temperatures have so far been unusually mild and big fires rare, this week saw conditions more typical of August – and with that came brush fires.
On Saturday, a fire burning near Lakeside grew quickly in an area that had its challenges.
"We're talking extremely steep slopes. Loose footing, rolling rocks, boulders. Just some real tough ground that poses some severe safety issues in some cases," Chief Joseph said.
There are several other areas of concern that haven’t burned for decades and fire officials are keeping an eye on them.
“Off Interstate 8 from the old Laguna Fire burn which happened in 1970. We have 30 to 40 year old growth out there now, with a little bit of fire history. That’s along Interstate-8 out towards Buckman Springs and down to the border,” said Capt. Daryll Pina.
Cal Fire is concentrating vegetation management programs on state funded and private property areas.
“To try and put in areas where we can stop the fire if we had a large incident like we did in 2007,” Capt. Pina said.
Another area of concern is the backside of Palomar Mountain, coming up Highway 79.
“There is little fire history over the last 30 years in there,” Capt. Pina said.
Cal Fire is working with the U.S. Forest Service and surrounding communities on fire safe councils to create defensible spacing areas.
“With the aid of aircraft and ground resources, we could make a good stand in the community out there,” Capt. Pina said.
The third area of concern is coming down Interstate-15 out of Temecula.
“We haven’t had a large fire in there. We did have the Rice fire, we had the Rainbow fire, which our perimeters aren’t that large, but we’re working with the cities in there, Vista, San Marcos, Fallbrook, putting together community plans,” Capt. Pina said.
Cal Fire is working hard with residents to make sure that these areas are ready for brush fires.
“Those are the main areas we’re targeting to focus that community based Vegetation Management Program,” said Capt. Pina.
The San Diego County Fire Authority has created a map that shows which areas have burned and which areas are of concern.
“With the purpose to coordinate fuel treatments in the county for the Forest Area Safety Taskforce Group (FAST Group),” said Capt. Pina.
FAST comprises of Stake Holders from Federal, State, and Local Government along with private entities that could have an interest in vegetation management and public safety.
The map (seen below) shows the areas of concern in purple and areas with dense fuel in brown. Click here for a larger version