May 31, 2016 (PALA) The sound of chainsaws filled the air. Yet, you could not see the fire firefighters. They were high in very tough terrain, that required hand crews to scale up the side of the hill like billy goats. The smell of smoke though was not that intense. Flames were long gone. Reporting San Diego arrived well after the initial attack of a fire that could have burned upwards of 200 acres started. The call came about 2:00 PM. It started as a house fire that spread to the brush.
While there were mandatory evacuations for most of the afternoon, they have been lifted. Two centers were established and 100 people were evacuated. They were sent to either Great Oak High School in Temecula or Felicita Elementary in Fallbrook.
According to CAL FIRE Public Information Officer, Captain Kendall Bortisser, while winds were light, crews were attacking intensely this fire from the air, using fire crews from both Air Attack Base Ramona and Ryan Air Attack Base in Riveride. Kendall also pointed out that while we have had some light rains this year, the five year drought is not over.
He pointed out that the dead vegetation is not coming back. But we had our crop of light grasses, that are “a ladder to fuels.” He also said that people need to be extra careful when working outside with anything that can produce a spark, “One less spark, one less wildfire.”
This fire also occurred about a mile from the Riverside border, so crews came from all over the North County as well as Riverside. Estimated personnel on the line is about 200. For example there were units form the Pachanga reservation. Air attack units were comprised of mostly Bell helicopters, from both CAL FIRE and the San Diego Sherriffs department. There were quite a few aircraft, to there was careful coordination to bring these birds in. What the air crews were dropping was not water, but retardant.
hand crews are expected to stay overnight to make sure the fire is contained and deal with any hot spots that might occur.