Photo Courtesy Paul LeFevre Photography
VALLEY CENTER POOMACHA FIRE ARCHIVES
Past Update History Below
 

November 8, 2007 1:00 PM

The POOMACHA FIRE is 98% contained, and has burned 49,410 acres.

Fire crews continue to construct and improve fire lines north of Palomar Mountain in the Agua Tibia Wilderness utilizing water drops from helicopters. Residents may continue to see smoke from this region and numerous areas within the fire perimeter. Full containment is expected by today at 6:00 pm.

To strengthen the fire perimeter and ensure complete extinguishment, firefighters continue ongoing mop-up and patrol operations applying water and extinguishing hot spots in many areas of the fire. Initial fire suppression rehabilitation has been initiated by crews and results are positive. Burned Area Emergency Response Teams (BAER) are on the ground conducting assessment operations within the fire area.

Re-opening Information: The Cleveland National Forest reopens on Saturday, November 10, 2007 after an emergency closure due to the recent and ongoing fires that started October 21, 2007.

Those restrictions that were in effect prior to the fires will be continued. This would return the forest to the EXTREME Forest Use Restriction Level. Under this level, the closure of all national forest lands south of Interstate 8 and a general prohibition on campfires, except for Laguna Campground, will also be in affect.

The recently burned areas of the Forest will be closed with regard to the Santiago Fire area in the Santa Ana Mountains; the Poomacha Fire in the Palomar Mountains; and the Witch Fire, that burned all the national forest lands south of State Highway 76 and north of Ramona, and portions of the San Diego River watershed east of Ramona.

Closures of recently burned areas, and adjoining lands are routinely implemented to protect to public from a variety of hazards such as rolling rocks and falling trees. There are also firefighters continuing their work in extinguishing fires in these areas and the discharge of firearms related to hunting poses a threat to their welfare.
Maps of these areas will be available Friday morning, November 9, 2007 on the Cleveland National Forest website at: www.fs.fed.us/r5/cleveland Check before you go for updated information
District offices are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM till 4:30 PM.
For the Cleveland National Forest Supervisorís Office dial (858) 673-6180.
• For Apline, Descanso, and Laguna Mountain Area contact the Descanso Ranger District at (619) 445-6235.
For Palomar Mountain, Henshaw, Ramona and Oak Grove areas contact the Palomar Ranger District at (760) 788-0250.
For the Ortega Highway area, San Mateo and Corona area contact the Trabuco Ranger District at (951) 736-1811.

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November 7, 2007
8:00 AM

The POOMACHA FIRE is 95% contained, and has burned 49,410 acres.

Fire crews will continue to construct and improve fire lines north of Palomar Mountain in the Agua Tibia Wilderness utilizing water drops from helicopters. Residents may continue to see smoke from this region and numerous areas within the fire perimeter. 100% containment is expected by Saturday, November 10th.

To strengthen the fire perimeter and ensure complete extinguishment, firefighters continue ongoing mop-up and patrol operations applying water and extinguishing hot spots in many areas of the fire. Initial fire suppression rehabilitation has been initiated by crews and results are positive.

The Cleveland National Forest is CLOSED to the public and all activity until further notice. Burned Area Emergency Response Teams (BAER) area on the ground conducting assessment operations within the fire area.

Major Problems and Concerns: Steep inaccessible terrain on north flank of fire. Slow progress on cold trailing the north flank due to steep terrain. Snags are in the working area.

Todayís Observed Fire Behavior: Isolated interior burning in scattered locations with some smoldering logs, snags and stump holes.

Significant Events Today: Hold and improve existing fireline, mop up and patrol continues through out the fire area.

Actions Planned for Next Operational Period: Continue to construct and improve handline on the north flank. Mop up and patrol all other areas. Respond to citizen concerns on smokes and hazards.

POOMACHA Fire Information: (619) 590-3160

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November 6, 2007
8:00AM

The POOMACHA Fire is 95% contained, and has burned 49,410 acres.

Fire crews will continue to construct and improve fire lines north of Palomar Mountain in the Agua Tibia Wilderness. Residents may continue to see smoke from this region and numerous areas within the fire perimeter.

To strengthen the fire perimeter and ensure complete extinguishment, firefighters continue ongoing mop-up and patrol operations applying water and extinguishing hot spots in many areas of the fire.

The Cleveland National Forest is CLOSED to the public and all activity until further notice. Burned Area Emergency Response Teams (BAER) are on the ground conducting assessment operations within the fire area.

Expected Containment: 11/10/2007

Major Problems and Concerns: Steep inaccessible terrain on north flank of fire. Slow progress on cold trailing the north flank due to steep terrain. Snags are in the working area.

Today’s Observed Fire Behavior: Isolated interior burning in scattered locations with some smoldering logs, snags, and stump holes.

Significant Events Today: Hold and improve existing fireline. Mop up and patrol continues through out the fire area.

Actions Planned for Next Operational Period: Continue to construct and improve handline on the north flank. Mop up and patrol all other areas. Respond to citizen concerns on smoke and hazards.

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November 5, 2007
8:00 AM

The POOMACHA Fire is 95% contained, and has burned 49,410 acres.

Today, in the north area of the fire, crews will continue to construct and improve handlines. Residents may continue to see smoke in the hills north of Palomar Mountain into the Aqua Tibia Wilderness.

To assure the fire is safe and reduce residual smoke, crews are extinguishing and removing burning material near the containment lines. This mop up and patrol activity is ongoing.

Excess personnel on the POOMACHA Fire continue to be released to staging and mobilization centers, or to reassignments. Some personnel will be returning back to their home units. Due to Fire Activity, the Cleveland National Forest is CLOSED to the public and all activity until further notice.

NEW Poomacha Fire Information Line is 619-590-3160.

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November 4, 2007
8:00 AM

The POOMACHA FIRE is 95% contained, and has burned 49,410 acres.

Today, in the north area of the fire, crews will continue to construct and improve handline. Residents may continue to see smoke in the hills above Arroyo Seco. Mop up and patrol is ongoing. Excess personnel on the Poomacha Fire continue to be released to staging and mobilization centers, or to reassignments. Some personnel will be returning back to their home units.

  • The fire started during the morning of October 23rd at 0313 AM
  • The cause of this fire was released as a structure fire spreading into vegetation. The cause of the structure fire is undetermined.
  • There have been 15 minor injuries
  • The fire has destroyed an estimated 138 homes and 78 outbuildings
  • 1,562 fire personnel are currently assigned to the incident

Major Problems & Concerns: Steep inaccessible terrain on north flank of fire. Slow progress on cold trailing the north flank due to steep terrain. Snags are in the working area.

Today’s observed fire behavior: Interior burning in scattered locations and smoldering logs.

Significant events today: Improvement and holding of existing line. Mop up and patrol continued on tall other areas of the fire.

Actions planned for next operational period: Continue to construct and improve handline on the north flank. Mop up and patrol all other areas. Respond to citizen concerns, smokes and hazards.

FIRE INFORMATION
NEW Poomacha Fire Information # 619-590-3160
For Additional San Diego Fire Information please call "211"
For additional information go to www.fire.ca.gov and click "Fire Information", or go to
www.nifc.gov/fire_ifo/nfn.htm

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November 2, 2007 – 8am

The POOMACHA FIRE is 85% contained, and has burned a re-evaluated estimate of 49,410 acres.

Today, in the north area of the fire, significant ground and air support will continue. Residents may continue to see smoke in the hills above Arroyo Seco. Mop up and patrol is ongoing. Acreage changes are due to improved mapping accuracy. Because of the continued accomplishments on this incident, fire personnel are starting to be released for reassignment or back to home units.

In an effort to follow up on questions posed at the Poomacha Fire Community Information Briefing, the following information is provided.

When will the electric power be restored? Electric power was returned Wednesday to about 349 customers in the Palomar area. Power has already been restored along Rincon Ranch Road up to Starbeam Lane. According to SDG&E spokesman Ron Smith, the vast majority of customers who lost power in the recent Poomacha Fire will have power restored by November 6th. In a few cases where poles were burned and required replacement, restoration of power could take slightly longer. For more information on electric power restoration, contact Ron Smith at 760-535-7314. Customers can also call 1-800-411-7343 for information. Be prepared with an account number, address or phone number. Select 0 to talk to a staff person.

Is the water safe in Pauma Valley? Linden Burzell, general manager of the Yuima Municipal Water District, says water testing will be concluded by Friday, Nov. 2nd. Results of that testing will determine whether customers need to continue boiling their drinking water. The Yuima Water District serves an area covering 13,000 acres in the Pauma Valley. For more information, contact the Yuima Municipal Water District at 760-742-3704. Spokespersons for the Rancho Mutual Water Company, which mainly provides water to customers along Adams Drive, say there are no safety concerns with their water supplies. The Rancho-Pauma Mutual Water Company also reports no problems with its water as a result of the fires.

BURNED AREA EMERGENCY RESPONSE (BAER) TEAM BEGINS WORK ON THE HARRIS, WITCH, AND POOMACHA FIRES
The Department of the Interior National Interagency Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team is in place in San Diego County and has initiated field assessments of the impacts to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of land Management, and Tribal Lands within and downstream of the Harris, Witch, and Poomacha Fires. The team’s primary mission is to assess potential threats to life, property, and critical cultural and natural resources on federal lands as a result of the recent wildfires. One of the primary concerns is the potential threat of flooding and mud flows. The team’s fire assessments will look at emergency stabilization needs for fire effects to federal infrastructure as well as critical cultural and natural resources.

To facilitate rapid assessment of damages, the BAER Team is using a combination of pre- and post-fire satellite imagery, aerial reconnaissance, and ground survey. The team is fully integrated into local agency and tribal resource staffs. Field assessments are expected to take about two weeks to complete.

  • The BAER assessments are focusing on the following Federal and Tribal lands:
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceHopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex
  • San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern California Agency
  • Barona Tribal Lands
  • Inaja Tribal Lands
  • Jamul Indian Village Tribal Lanas
  • La Jolla Band of Luiseno Tribal Lanas
  • Mesa Grande Tribal Lanas
  • Pala Tribal Lanas
  • Pauma and Yuima Tribal Lanas
  • Rincón Tribal Lanas
  • San Pasqual Tribal Lanas
  • Santa Isabel Tribal Lanas
  • Bureau of Land management, South Coast Office

Watershed, Threatened and Endangered Species, Vegetation, Facilities, and Heritage and Cultural Resources have been affected by the fires. Based on the field assessment and consistent with Department of the Interior policy, treatments will be designed to minimize or mitigate anticipated impacts. If the BAER assessment process identifies other issues of concern that are outside BAER policy to address, those issues are being passed on to the land managers, and to other federal and state emergency response personnel. Stabilization efforts are also being coordinated with Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, State of California, and local government agencies.

Following field assessments, the BAER Team will prepare an Emergency Stabilization Plan. It is anticipated that the plan will be delivered to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs by late November. Once approved, treatments will be installed as quickly as possible. Department of the Interior policy provides that treatments will be installed within one year from date of containment of the fires and may be maintained or monitored for up to three years. The local land management agencies will be responsible for treatment implementation and maintenance.

For additional information, contact the BAER Team Information Officer Sandee Dingman at 702-423-2372.

FIRE VICTIM FOOD DISTRIBUTION
Beginning Wednesday, October 31st, food will be distributed to fire victims in need at St. Stephen Catholic Church, 31020 Cole Grade Road, Valley Center (just south of Valley Center High School). Food will be distributed from the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry during the following days & times: Monday thru Friday from 5 – 6:30pm; and Saturday from 8:30 to 10:30am.

Donations of non-perishable food items and drinking water will be accepted during these times for those interested in helping victims of the fire.

(Spanish version)
VICTIMAS DEL INCENDIO
En necesidad de comida/alimento empezando Miércoles, October 31st en la iglesia Catolica de St. Stephen, 31020 Cole Grade Road, Valley Center (sur de la High School en Valley Center). Los alimentos seran distribuidos de la despensa de St. Vincente de Pablo. Durante el siguiente dias: Lunes – Viernes del las 5:00 a las 6:30 pm. Sabado de las 8:30 al las 10:30am.

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Friday, November 2, 2007
6:00 AM

ICS Report
Current Situation

  • Area Involved: 49,410 acres
  • % of Containment: 85%
  • Expected Total Containment: Nov. 3, 2007
  • Expected Control: No information
  • Injuries to date: 13
  • Residence Damaged: 4
  • Residence Destroyed: 143
  • Commercial Property Destroyed: 1
  • Outbuilding/Other Damaged: 12
  • Outbuilding/Other Destroyed: 77

Major Problems & Concerns: Steep inaccessible terrain on North and Northwest side of fire. Slopover potential in Division N is still a concern. Two pockets were actively burning in the north area requiring air support.

Today’s observed fire behavior: Two pockets within the interior of the burn of the north end of the fire are actively burning and will require air support.

Significant events today: Mop up and patrol to continue to secure all areas of the fire.

Actions planned for next operational period: Construct and improve handline in the northern part of the fire. Mop up and patrol all other secured areas of the fire.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007
8:00 AM
BURNOUT OPERATION PLANNED

The Poomacha fire is now 85% contained and has burned 50,156 acres. Today as soon as the fog lifts, a burnout operation consisting of several hundred acres will be conducted at the north end of the fire within the established control lines. Residents in the surrounding areas should anticipate a large plume of smoke. This operation is being conducted to clean up unburned fuels along the perimeter. There will be significant ground and air support with this operation. Mop-up and patrol continues along the perimeter.


We are NOT soliciting donations over the phone for our firefighters! If you are able to do a *69 or view the caller ID of these scammers, please report the number to the Sheriff at 751-4400 in Valley Center. Please call Kym at the office for more information 751-7600.

Another scam... The road side T-shirt sales are not being donated to the firefighters or the victims.... no matter what you are told!

Stop looters and scammers... If you see anything suspicious or cars that don't belong, please call the Sheriff 751-4400. Let's keep an eye out for our neighbors that may not be back yet.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
9:00 AM
HIGHWAY 76 REOPENS

As of 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 31, 2007, the Jolla Reservation, the Palomar Mountain community area, and the Highway 76 corridor from the Valley Center Road/Rincon Ranch Road area to the Lake Henshaw Resort area are being opened to residents and businesses only.
All residents returning to these areas are reminded to be cautious and drive slowly due to fire equipment and personnel in the area.
Residents are encouraged to minimize travel and traffic in the area.
Expected containment: Nov. 6, 2007

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007
8:00 AM
The POOMACHA FIRE is now 70% contained, and has burned 49,540 acres.

Pending favorable weather conditions, a large burnout operation of 3,500 acres could be conducted in the Agua Tibia Wilderness/Palomar Mountain area within the established control lines of the fire. Residents in the surrounding areas should anticipate a large plume of smoke. This operation is being conducted to clean up unburned fuels within the fire perimeter. Focus is continued with structure protection and perimeter control. Control lines have been tied into the WITCH FIRE. In an effort to return residents to the La Jolla area, heavy mop up and patrol continues to ensure the valley area is safe. Fire behavior is expected to be moderate today. The fire is within the Aqua Tibia Wilderness, and control operations within this area are difficult given the steep terrain and inaccessibility.

Communities still threatened:
Mt. Palomar Community, Palomar Observatory, Crosley Homestead & Dripping Springs

Major problems and concerns:
Conditions were not favorable for firing operations today. Slow backing fire north of Palomar divide. Moderate runs upslope interior of burn. Steep inaccessible terrain on North and Northwest side of fire. Dozer and hand line have been completed around slopovers in some areas, but are still of concern.

Today’s observed fire behavior:
Slow backing fire north of Palomar divide. Short uphill runs to ridgetops within the interior of the burn.

Actions planned for next operational period:
Continue structure protection and perimeter control. Firing operations to continue as weather and conditions allow. Continue to implement strategies to minimize the impacts to the Agua Tibia Wilderness. Burnout operations will continue on indirect line constructed in the Agua Tibia Wilderness as conditions allow.

  • 76 East open to Rincon Ranch Road
  • 76 still closed from Rincon Ranch Road to Lake Henshaw
  • Palomar Mt. still closed.

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Effective Thursday, October 25, 2007, at 2:30 p.m. some roads in the Valley Center area will be opened to residents and business owners/employees only.

  • All residents returning to these areas are reminded to be cautious and drive slowly due to fire equipment and personnel in the area.
  • Residents are encouraged to minimize travel and traffic in the area.
  • Local law enforcement and the National Guard will remain in the area for patrol and security.
  • Due to some remaining fire activity, the following areas remain closed and will be reopened as soon as possible.

The following areas will remain closed:

  • Paradise Mountain/Skyline Ranch
  • Palomar Mountain
  • HWY 76 corridor from the Pala area to HWY 79
  • The Rincon, Pala, Pauma, La Jolla and San Pasqual Reservations
  • The Lake Wohlford area

Road closure status:

  • Cole Grade Road, south of Pauma Elementary will be opened
  • Lilac Road, south of Pala Loma will be opened
  • Lake Wohlford Road will remain closed
  • North Lake Wohlford to Woods Valley will be opened
  • HWY 76, east to HWY 15 to HWY 79 will remain closed
  • The Pala Casino, Pauma Casino, Harrahs Rincon Casino and Valley View Casino remain closed to public access at this time.

 

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