Multiple fires threaten San Diego area in early start to season

County App Listed Bernardo Fire as "In Your Pants"

The county explained how the mistake ended up on its map

By Andie Adams and Eric Page
|  Wednesday, May 14, 2014  |  Updated 4:12 PM PDT
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County App Listed Bernardo Fire as "In Your Pants"

Ken Brucker on Twitter

San Diego County residents looking for updates on a brush fire threatening thousands of homes got a not-so-serious message on the Bernardo blaze's latest status when they turned to the county's website and app for information.

Apparently, the location of the fire as of Tuesday was “in your pants.” At least, that’s according to the notes under the site’s emergency notification map.

San Diego Communications Director Mike Workman said he learned about the problem a short time after it was made public.

He explained that two people were assigned to create a map to use the county’s geographic information system (GIS) once they realized the fire would be a significant emergency.

As they entered coordinates and neighborhood names into the system, an unknown person entered the words “fire in your pants” in the notes field. It was supposed to say “Bernardo Fire.”

Officials soon published a new version over it, so they never had to take the whole map down to fix the issue. They also closed a “portal” into the system that the culprit used to gain entry.

Workman said that because officials were dealing with a public emergency, they have not had time to backtrack and identify the user who entered the “offending words.”

When the time is appropriate, Workman said the county will investigate.

However, he was reluctant to say the system was hacked. The GIS system is reportedly not available to the general public, but they do provide a link to people who need to use the system for land use, general plan maps, tracking runoff and more.

Workman thinks steps will soon be taken to prevent something like this from happening again.

Even with the quick fix, a number of Twitter users picked up on the mistake, taking screen shots of the evacuation information and poking fun at it.

As some of the online commenters suggested, Leaving "your pants"  is a hard evacuation order to give.

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