October 27th, 2003

Enterprise Bridge

I'm burnin', I'm burnin', I'm burnin' for you...

The fires continue to burn. The Valley Center ("Paradise Hills") fire and the Ramona/Lakeside ("Cedar") fire have hooked up into one. This is something I wrote for a mailing list last night (but note I-15 and CA-163 are again open:)

The county is badly hamstrung. Freeways are the only way to get between some parts of town, and half of them are closed. The other half, plus a lot of 2-lane surface streets, are overloaded trying to pick up the slack. It is already impossible to leave town to the east. The Otay Mesa fire has closed I-8 and CA-54. The 2-lane state highways that would get you out the scenic way are cut off by the Cedar fire here in north county. That fire also threatens to close I-15 to Riverside County. That would leave only I-5 through Camp Pendleton, which is a choke point on a good day.

Many business, including half the grocery stores (whose staffs were on strike to begin with,) are closed, as are many gas stations. The highway situation hampers those stores' and stations' ability to resupply. San Diego's mayor has asked employers to give their employees the day of tomorrow. All city and county offices are closed, including schools, pools, and libraries, except for water, sewer, and life safety services.


Eastern Poway is burning. I know people who have lost homes. CDF, US Forestry, Poway, and Orange County firefighters have been doing their best, but it's not enough.

Southwest Airlines has canceled all flights in and out of southern California. There is literally no place to stand at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. They have moved tonight's Chargers-Dolphins game to Phoenix, but since I-8 is closed, it's nearly impossible for people to get there in time.

My house is about two miles from what the fire line was last night. Here, it is not advancing very fast at all. (In one case, the fire department hooked up hoses and handed them to residents to fight the fire, successfully, along Tierra Bonita Rd.) I don't think I could be in danger until late today, if at all. Nonetheless, I'm packed to evacuate on five minutes' notice.

Declan's photos -- My photos
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    NBC affiliate -- aerial video of the burned waste in Scripps Ranch