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October 22, 2007 [ More archived home pages here ]

Fire Season 2007 Arrives


The above image, Fire Storm is also available as a Desktop

Today's song is Fire In The Desert by Keiko Matsui, released in 2003.

[Note:] Go here for the May 2014 San Marcos Fire.

The Santa Ana Winds are delivering the dreaded fires to Southern California. Right now, this fire is the one I will be watching. From past experience, I know first-hand how fast fires can move.

The high winds are forecasted to remain until Tuesday. At this time I publish this (Sunday, October 21, 2007, 5:26 p.m.), I don't see or smell smoke. With uncontrolled fires, that situation may change at any time.


There are four days of my blogging Firestorm October 2007 coverage here:

Updates for Thursday 10/25/07:

Update 10/25/07 8:25 a.m.:

Here is a web page allowing you to attempt to locate someone or help someone locate you.

Cal Fire updates the latest fire map in pdf format.

The fires have burned about 350,000 acres and destroyed at least 1,470 residences. Over 560,000 people were evacuated. More than 5,000 firefighters working the fires.

Julian still threatened by Witch Creek Fire.

Update 10/25/07 9:05 a.m.:

San Diego County has a web page of air quality forcasts for some of the cities in the county.

Ten fire-related deaths in San Diego County. Three died directly from the fires. Three died during evacuation. Four died after evacuation.

This site accumulated 5,400 page views since yesterday morning. For the last three-and-a-half days that's over 25,000 page views total. Below are the Google Ad Sense data maps for this web site displaying the information on the International, U.S., and California regions for the period October 22 - 24, 2007. Each site visit could accumulate many additional page views. Page views and site visits are different quantities.

Update 10/25/07 9:40 a.m.:

Volunteerisim is alive and well in San Diego.

A news site reader says that all roads into Valley Center are still closed. In the last three days it is very difficult to get any reports about the Valley Center fire threat or other status from TV News or other sites. Many reader comments on news site blogs are upset about the lack of information about Valley Center.

Google Maps has a fire map for San Diego courtesy of KPBS.

The Harris Fire is still moving northeast towards Lyons Valley Road, east of Jamul.

Update 10/25/07 9:50 a.m.:

I'm taking a break now to have some breakfast and attend to a few other matters around the house. By the way, the sky is still smokey here today with winds at 0 mph, currently 70 degrees.

Update 10/25/07 11:35 a.m.:

The San Diego County has a list of some of the destroyed structures in pdf format.

President Bush is in the San Diego area touring the damaged areas. He lands in Escondido in a while at Kit Carson Park as one of the stops.

Update 10/25/07 12:00 p.m.:

City of San Diego Fire Departments are distributing free air-filter masks according to this web blog.

Update 10/25/07 1:30 p.m.:

San Diego County residents that lost their home or income may qualify for a one-time allotment of food-stamps. Applications will be accepted today through Saturday. Complete instructions and guidelines are available by calling (866) 262-9881.

Life is returning towards normal for much, but not all of San Diego County. To be sure, there are still places to keep an eye on, but all kinds of equipment and resources are being brought to bear on the remaining fires and hot spots now. People are helping each other and that's always a great sign. The government: Federal, State, and, County are pretty much in-tune now, doing their jobs to assist those in need, of which there are many.

I'm going offline for a few hours to attend to other matters. Later tonight, I'll archive this page and publish a new page for Friday and the weekend in it's place.


Updates for Wednesday 10/24/07:

Update 10/24/07 8:30 a.m.:

As my morning starts here in San Marcos on day three of the Firestorm October 2007, the Sun is breaking through the clouds and lingering smoke. The winds are 0 mph here at home.

From all fires, 300,000 acres burned, 1,300 buildings destroyed.

Camp Pendelton fire spreads to 6,000 acres with 10% containment. For a while during the night and early morning, I-5 was closed in each direction but is now open both ways.

The Witch Creek and Poomacha fires have merged.

Mandatory evacuations for Valley Center, the area is about three miles east of Lake Wohlford Road. Winds in Valley Center are E at 5 mph.

A Martin Mars Water Bomber is set to arrive today. It can drop 7,500 gallons of water in a single pass, enough to cover three acres of ground.

Here is a pdf of the latest fire map.

Update 10/24/07 9:05 a.m.:

Six people have died so far from the fires, not all are directly from the fire itself.

The Harris Fire is threatening homes in Rancho Jamul Estates.

Here's another active fire map.

Yesterday this web site accumulated over 7,000 page views, double the normal amount. For the two days of this fire so far, over 17,000 page views were accumulated.

My web server is down right now. I'll continue to update when it is up-and-running again.

Update 10/24/07 9:20 a.m.:

Harris Fire is 73,000 acres burned. 759 firefighters assigned to battle it.

Witch Creek Fire is 196,420 acres burned. 1,841 firefighters assigned to battle it. 10% contained.

Rice Creek Fire is 7,500 acres burned. 15% contained.

Poomacha Fire is 25,000 acres burned. 659 firefighters assigned to battle it. 0% contained.

Update 10/24/07 10:05 a.m.:

14 military water-dropping helicopters will be helping today in fighting the fires.

A news site reader said that food is needed for firefighters working in Fallbrook. It would be helpful if we knew how to help all firefighters when needed with a web site of current information. I couldn't find that information on the American Red Cross or Cal Fire pages about firefighter needs.

Update 10/24/07 10:40 a.m.:

On Thursday people who sustained fire losses can start applying to FEMA for assistance.

A news site reader said exhausted firefighters are pouring into the Temecula Resource Center for rest. (at Rancho Vista Rd & Margarita). They need food and drink.

Update 10/24/07 11:05 a.m.:

Over 650 square miles burned, damage costs add up to one billion dollars.

Update 10/24/07 11:55 a.m.:

This web site is back up now. The web server is being shared with Carlsbad High School Evacuation Center. Rick White tells me the web server has been getting over 250,000 hits a day since the fires started. I'm sure this site has a good share of those hits.

Update 10/24/07 12:15 p.m.:

I'll be going off-line for a couple hours. now that the danger has left here, I need to attend to a few other matters. I'll be back later this afternoon with more news, hopefully good news for all concerned.

Update 10/24/07 2:05 p.m.:

I was outside shopping. The air in San Marcos is not too smokey today with winds at WSW at 6 mph.

House-to-house battles on Palomar Mountain today as expected by fire chiefs last night.

Harris Fire nears Cleveland National Forest.

Update 10/24/07 2:50 p.m.:

On a news site, a reader said that he exceeded his cell phone minutes because of the firestorm. He called his service provider and they gave him 200 extra minutes for $5.00.

While watching TV News 7/39, they showed a current map of the fires (as of 8:00 am this morning) in pdf format. I like it a lot because it is based on the Thomas Guides I mentioned last night on this site as a suggestion.

Update 10/24/07 3:10 p.m.:

Here's an updated fire map from Cal Fire as of 2:00 pm today in pdf format.

Westfield North County Mall in Escondido reopened this afternoon and the air-conditioning there may offer relief from the smokey air and heat over there. Right now in Escondido, it's 94 degrees with the winds ENE at 11 mph. While here in San Marcos it's 82 degrees with winds WNW at 3 mph. I find it interesting how the wind directions clash within just a few miles of each location because of the mountains and valleys between them.

Update 10/24/07 3:20 p.m.:

The Harris Fire remains a threat to Jamul.

There are two fires in Camp Pendleton: The Horno Fire is about 10,000 acres at 40-50% contained; The Wilcox fire is 100 acres, 100% contained.

Update 10/24/07 3:40 p.m.:

I'm watching the news on TV and believe it or not, a roving reporter is using a Thomas Guide to show exactly where they are on the scene. Now that's more like it!

Update 10/24/07 4:00 p.m.:

A new fire started at the southeast corner of Camp Pendleton.

I'm going back off-line now. I'll be back in a few hours after dinner.

Update 10/24/07 7:05 p.m.:

Now officials say the Witch Creek and Poomacha Fires have not merged, contrary to earlier reports.

The USDA Forest Service has thermal-imaging maps of the fires.

One of the news sites readers said they saw and heard four C-130's go over their homes in Oceanside towards Palomar Mountain around 5:00 p.m.

For my friends Pierre and Rose: Murrieta Valley Unified Schools will be closed on Thursday.

City of San Diego residents only can register cell phones for reverse-911 calls.

I'll be back later with more information.

Update 10/24/07 9:45 p.m.:

From Cal Fire, here are some of the latest fire stats as of 7:30 p.m., tonight: Harris Fire is 75,000 acres, 10% contained; Witch Creek Fire is 196, 240 acres, 20% contained; Rice Fire is 9,000 acres, 20% contained; Poomacha Fire is 35,000 acres, 10% contained.

Below is the Google Ad Sense map of the USA for this site for yesterday, October 23, 2007. Only the state of West Virginia didn't access my site.

I'm signing-off for tonight. Hopefully the battles in the east and extreme south portions of the county will be easier for firefighters on Thursday.


Updates for Tuesday 10/23/07:

Update 10/23/07 9:30 a.m.:

President Bush declares state of emergency for southern California. That will free up resources we need to help everyone.

I-15 open in both directions now. According to a reader comment on a news blog, all of San Marcos (where we live) is safe for now.

I spoke with my good friend, Rick White (owner of Digital SweatShop), who helped establish a computer network at Carlsbad High School Evacuation Center yesterday so people could get access to email and news via the Internet. He's there again today helping out.

The San Diego County estimates over 1,000 structures have been destroyed.

Tanker planes are now flying and dumping retardant material on some edges of the fire in Rancho Santa Fe.

Yesterday this web wite generated almost 10,000 page views, three times the normal amount. Hopefully the web sever will not crash today as it did last night from too much traffic. It's likely that the server my site is running on is also being used by that emergency network Rick White setup as indicated above.

Update 10/23/07 9:55 a.m.:

My good friend, Pierre Doche, called to tell me he was southbound on I-15 from Murrieta, CA, and at Mission Road near Fallbrook, the smoke is so thick on both sides of the freeway, that he can't even see the car in front of him. He sees flames in houses right there too. Apparantly, I-15 is closed at places to only allow emergency vehicles through.

Update 10/23/07 10:20 a.m.:

The Poomacha fire to the east of us is my concern now. The news says about 40 houses have burned there on the La Jolla Native American Nation.

Update 10/23/07 11:00 a.m.:

A Valley Center resident reports zero visibility due to the Poomacha fire to the east.

A news blog reader reports that at Hwy 78 and Escondido Avenue in Vista the smoke is so think, a mask must be worn to breathe.

Update 10/23/07 11:30 a.m.:

A report from the Strike Team that they are making a stand at the Yellow Brick Road in Valley Center for the fire coming from the east. Google Maps calculator tells me that's 21 miles to the northwest of me. Winds in San Marcos currently WSW at 3 mph.

The fire burning along the north shore of Lake Hodges has reached Del Dios, a densely wooded community of small houses and cottages between the lake and Del Dios Highway.

Fallbrook Hospital and several nursing homes have been evacuated. 650 crews from all over northern California rushing in now to fight the 5,000 acre Rice Fire in Fallbrook. Between 250 and 500 homes burned there.

Update 10/23/07 11:40 a.m.:

San Diego County reports over 513,000 people under mandatory evacuation because of the fires.

Update 10/23/07 12:00 p.m.:

There are mandatory evacuations ordered for Palomar Mountain and Valley Center. Residents being advised to take shelter at the Palomar Observatory, which is otherwise closed. The wind in Valley Center right now is from the East at 23 mph, gusting to 38 mph. The temperature there is 85 degrees. Those winds as they are, along with winds in San Marcos at WSW at 3mph would indicate the fire is blowing away from us here at home.

Update 10/23/07 12:25 p.m.:

The Rice Fire in Fallbrook is now at 6,100 acres.

Update 10/23/07 12:55 p.m.:

The Poomacha Fire to the northeast of us is now heading up on Palomar Mountain.

Ramona has lost power to one of their main water pumps. SDG&E indicate it will be two days to restore power to that pump. Only a small section of Romona can now supply water to firefighters.

The Witch Creek Fire has jumped Del Dios Hwy, northwest of Lake Hodges towards Mount Isabel, which is south of the Elfin Forest Recreational Preserve. This now becomes another fire to keep an eye on bcause that area is to the southeast, over the mountain just to the south of us. Winds in San Marcos are W at 5 mph.

Update 10/23/07 1:05 p.m.:

Evacuees need to go up to Orange County or further to find a place to stay as vacancies fill-up.

The San Marcos City Web Site is down again, has been for a couple hours now. As of this morning when I was last able to read that site, it had an update from 3:20 p.m. yesterday afernoon. It would be helpful for local governments to keep their web sites up-and-running with timely and current information during emergencies.

Update 10/23/07 1:15 p.m.:

1,095 households in Harmony Grove have been given the mandatory evacuation call. That is pretty scarry now for us. Winds in San Marcos are W at 5 mph, near Harmony Grove are W at 26 mph.

Update 10/23/07 1:40 p.m.:

Firefighters being pulled back to a defensive stand at the Poomacha Fire on Palomar Mountain due to rapidly changing conditions. 17 homes in the Del Dios area burned down, that's just the other side of the mountain to the southeast.

The entire La Jolla Native American Nation now has a mandatory evacuation order. The Poomacha Fire is the one they are avoiding. They should go to Borrego Springs. That fire is now over 20,000 acres.

Winds in San Marcos are W at 5 mph and in Del Dios are E at 26 mph. Those winds appear to me be to be shearing at each other if they meet, but that's only a guess on my part.

I'm receiving calls from people I know about our safety. So far, we are okay here, but the fire over that mountain in Harmony Grove keeps me busy here. As long as I'm blogging here, consider that a good sign. :-)

Update 10/23/07 1:45 p.m.:

Fires burinng south of Via Rancho Parkway in southwest Escondido, CA.

The city of Encinitas are under mandatory evacuation for Olivenhain east of Rancho Santa Fe Road and north of El Camino Del Norte.

Update 10/23/07 1:55 p.m.:

The Poomacha Fire (20,000 acres) and Witch Creek Fire (over 200,000 acres) are expected to merge later today.

The San Marcos City Web Site is still down!

A news blog reader comments that near Rainbow, CA, flames can be seen in the Del Luz area heading North. Via the Temecula area / 215 & 15 Intersections.

Update 10/23/07 2:10 p.m.:

I just watched a TV news video of a home that burned down (total loss) at Elm Lane and Lake Drive in Lake Hodges. That is only about six miles southeast of me over the mountain.

Alpha Project is distributing supplies to homeless people wandering the streets.

Some TV news organizations are now saying they do not hold back news about fires here in North County including San Marcos, Rainbow, and Fallbrook. Like many others up here, I don't buy that. They say they have a hard time getting information from those areas. But that's their job to go there and get the information. They went to all the other areas. They chose to not go to the areas I just listed. Now when they are getting called on their lack of response, they give the usual kop-out (BS) answers. They would be better to just say, "yeah, we know we don't care to do our jobs properly for extreme North County."

Update 10/23/07 2:30 p.m.:

Cal Fire reports that the Poomacha Fire has now grown to 23,000 acres and very troubling at the Highland Valley and Mt. Woodson areas. Their web site is not working correctly, so be patient when checking it out.

Update 10/23/07 2:45 p.m.:

San Marcos City Manager says San Marcos residents are not in danger now. The reverse-911 call sent out was in error. That call should only have gone to residents of Harmony Grove.

Many of the homes burning over in Del Dios have the old shake shingle roofs which burn very easily.

Carlsbad High School Evacuation Center needs supplies. Contact Lisa Rodman at (760) 434-4959.

Update 10/23/07 3:15 p.m.:

The Rice Fire is reportedly expanding from Fallbrook towards Riverside County.

Some of the medical centers are now reporting cases of respiratory problems from the poor air quality.

Update 10/23/07 3:45 p.m.:

One suggestion I will make for TV stations is to make sure the roving reporters and the newsdesk anchors all have are Thomas Guides. That way the reporter on the scene can say something to the effect, "Okay, anchors, go to section XXXX in the Thomas Guide. We are now looking at flames on that page at these coordinates WW,ZZ." Then the news desk anchors can make sure the TV audience can view that page and the refered coordinates highlighted so we can get an idea of what they heck the rover reported is referring to and where it is located on that Thomas Guide map! Right now they show a mountain in flames and I have no idea exactly where it is which makes the information less effective, maybe even useless.

The Poway Community Center is seeking supplies on behalf of Witch Creek Fire evacuees. Call (858) 679-4318 or log onto their web site.

Update 10/23/07 3:50 p.m.:

The calmer winds arriving now are helping firefighters on the Rice Fire in Fallbrook. The fire destroyed fewer homes than earlier reported, down to 200 from 500. Apparantly the firefighters worked hard to save many other homes in that fierce fire earlier today.

Residents along the corridor from Hwy 67 from Ramona to Lakeside are now under mandatory evacuation.

Update 10/23/07 4:15 p.m.:

NBC TV News is reporting that California has over 950,000 people under mandatory evacuation. That would make this firestorm situation larger than the Katrina disaster, they say, and the largest peace-time evacuation since the Civil War.

Update 10/23/07 4:45 p.m.:

There is a list of homes destroyed in Rancho Bernardo in pdf format. I recall from a TV news interview earlier today, one of the San Diego City Council person and staff compiled that list.

At this moment the wind is 0 mph in San Marcos.

I'm signing-off for dinner, it's been a very long and anxious day.

Update 10/23/07 8:00 p.m.:

I found a pdf on the San Diego County Emergency Homepage for cleaning up ash.

San Marcos winds are 0 mph.

This evening the pace of news fom my various sources has slowed to about a third of what they were over the last day-and-a-half. To be sure there are still major fire battles to be waged as I write this message. Hopefully by Wednesday afternoon, most of those battles will be won or almost won.

Update 10/23/07 8:10 p.m.:

The direction of the Santa Ana Winds is shifting around as is normal for the pattern. Now the fires can reverse and cause problems back in the opposite directions. Depending on where they reverse, they may burn through new areas of unaffected areas.

Julian residents are now being asked to prepare for a possible evacuation from the Witch Creek Fire that may come back that way.

Update 10/23/07 9:05 p.m.:

The Poomacha fire has burned 23,000 acres with 0% containment.

The Witch Creek Fire is now about 1% contained. The concern is that it will merge tonight or tomorrow morning with the Poomacha Fire and race uncontrollaby eastward along Hwy 76 when the winds shift from the west. Fire officials are very concerned because Hwy 76 runs through a canyon and it will be a river of heat and flames moving along until it reaches Hwy 79, so they say.

The Julian evacuation is now mandatory. The power is out in Julian, most cell phones aren't working, so reverse-911 calls can't be made. Folks there should go to Borrego Springs. The Witch Creek Fire may come roaring back there by Thursday. A reporter there now says the winds are just rushing around fiercly as the Santa Ana Winds are compressed through the canyons over that way.

The Rice Fire in Fallbrook is now at 7,500 acres and 10% contained. Along with a couple hundred buildings destroyed there was over 20,000 avacado trees burned-up.

I remind everyone reading this site that San Marcos is fine and the fire danger has passed us by this time. God has answered our prayers and probably yours too.

This is my last update for tonight.


Updates for Monday 10/22/07:

Update 10/22/07 4:20 a.m.:

Sherry and I were awakened by a neighbor at 2:44 a.m. At that time there was a concern that we may need to evacuate. Upon further research of various sources, we are staying home at this time. I am not able to see the red glow or smoke to the east of us towards Escondido, nor the the south (over the mountain) towards San Elijo Hills. It was reported that San Elijo Hills was beings asked to evacuate. The winds are still blowing strongly and are expected to increase when the sun comes up.

The news on the TV says just now that the San Diego Wild Animal Park is being threatened by fire from the east that just jumped Route 78. Fire engines are on the scene, but the winds just blow flames and red-hot embers around wildly as shown on TV for other areas engulfed in flames in the eastern part of the county.

During the night, most sources are not updated with real-time information. The phone lines for information are overloaded and circuits busy. In short, for now information is most effectively found by TV stations. The winds are expected to stay strong for the next several days.

The duration of this danger causes me to wonder how tired so many people will be. We stay awake to listen to news, but at any time we may need to pack up and leave. Rest won't come easy, it's a challenging time for sure. Monday will be a long a day for San Diego.

Update 10/22/07 4:55 a.m.:

The news web site says I-15 southbound is now closed for many miles. The fire is expected to jump I-15 near Rancho Bernardo.

Weather report now says the winds today will be about 50 mph with gusts over 75mph!

Ocassionally I see a small fire start on the mountain just to the south-east of us, but each time a fire engine puts it out before it spreads. There are extra resources being brought in from all over the west to come fight the eight fires now buring in San Diego county.

Update 10/22/07 5:10 a.m.:

San Diego county citizens are starting to awaken now. The winds are starting to pickup. As the fires gets closer to the more densely populated areas of the region, the air quality will continue to decrease while the many people will be out for whatever reasons. Just like four years ago, the situation will change for the worse as the day rolls onward.

Update 10/22/07 5:20 a.m.:

From the various live TV shots, the smoke in some of the populated areas is starting to obscure visibility to a high degree. To me that means that traffic flows will be greatly slowed down through intersections just because a person can't see clearly. I expect collisions to block intersections, compounding the problems.

Update 10/22/07 5:35 a.m.:

I hope my friends that live in the currently affected areas will come out all right from all of this. This situation can only get worse as the winds blow with more intensity when the Sun comes up around 7:00 a.m. I am concerned that at any time, embers from fires to the east of us can start fires all around us. That's the most scary part of these kinds of fires. That they can spread and ignite in new places within a very short period of time and then the winds just fan the flames uncontrollably.

Update 10/22/07 5:55 a.m.:

On the other side of the mountain to the south of us, a mandatory evacuation has now been ordered. That is the area the burned in 1996 when we had to evacuate from our place in Carlsbad back then. Right now, the way the winds are blowing, the danger is away from us. I concerned that the problems the fire makes will compound the problems arising from the fire itself. A few hours from now may be a real sign of just what we San Diegans face today.

It would probably help a great deal in my humble opinion if all work loactions were canceled for today. That would free up the roads for the massive evacuations that most likely are going to be needed.

Update 10/22/07 6:10 a.m.:

A crisis like this exposes the complexities of coordinating useful and correct information. I'm sorry to say that there are erroneous reports made at times on the TV channels, conflicting information, and information that is quickly out-dated, yet repeated as if it were fresh.

Government phone numbers are busy, so people redial. When the telephone circuits get busy, the emergency calls have less chance of getting through. Web sites serving news are being impacted as the volume of requests upon them by a global audience vie for access along with locals attempting to be informed. The strain upon the entire information system is enormous and we are only at the start of a several day process.

I-15 is now closed in both directions from Hwy 78 (nearby) to Hwy 56, a distance of 10 to 15 miles. That means anyone trying to go north from the I-15 corridor now has to find a way west to the I-5 and then go north. That situation compounds the evacuation process, but there are no other options.

QualComm Stadium is now open as an evacuation center.

Update 10/22/07 6:30 a.m.:

On the other side of the mountain, to the south of us, 100 square miles is now under mandatory evacuation! That tells me they expect the fire today may burn all the way to the coast! The mayor of the city of San Diego has asked all people to not use the cell phones because that system is being taxed and the emergency personnel are having problems communication with their cell phones.

Update 10/22/07 6:40 a.m.:

The fire has jumped the I-15 at Carmel Valley Road. In Rancho Bernardo, homes are reported on fire with people trapped in them and also in their cars. Here in San Marcos, the smoke is dense from nearby Cal State San Marcos all the way over to the south side of the mountain near us. As I expected in my earlier posts, I-5 is now jammed. That's not surprising with over 100 square miles of people trying to get out of the fire's path.

Update 10/22/07 6:50 a.m.:

No fire-fighting aircraft can fly to help out due to the high wind conditions. Those would be the best pieces of equipment to use, but they sit idle because they are unsafe in the air. The winds are blowing stronger now. The danger grows by the hour as the Sun begins to appear.

Update 10/22/07 7:10 a.m.:

My San Diego Fire Pictures web page is being accessed constantly. Just since yesterday that page itself accessed over 700 times! I can see that it is being listed as the first response on Google. I'm pretty sure people don't want to read about that fire today, so it demonstrates that Google results may sometimes be misleading.

Electrical power outages are now affecting 23,000 customers.

Update 10/22/07 7:35 a.m.:

The fire-fighters are aggressivly fighting any fire that starts-up on the mountain near to us. It is good to know they are so diligent in their efforts. I watch the TV and see homes on fire in Rancho Bernardo. The emergency rooms are starting to see a large increase in the number of patients reporting respiratory problems.

Update 10/22/07 7:55 a.m.:

The county reports at this time, 18,000 burned so far with 0% containment. Six houses reprtedly lost in nearby Escondido, two more heavily damaged.

Update 10/22/07 11:00 a.m.:

I finally got some sleep for at least a few hours. The winds are really blowing here now. The smoke makes the sunlight appear as an erie yellow. Pomerado Hospital is being evacuated as of about 9:16 a.m.

Update 10/22/07 11:30 a.m.:

The TV news indicates that over 100,000 acres have burned. Hundreds of firefighters are at work with less than 100 fire engines. More than a quarter million people have been evacuated. There is a smell of smoke in the house now, as the high winds pressing against the house allows that odor to enter.

Parts of southeast Carlsbad have been advised that they should be prepared to leave. That's in the area where we lived from 1996 to 1998. The fires are now collectively called the worst in San Diego history.

Update 10/22/07 11:45 a.m.:

Fallen tress are blocking intersections complicating the movement of an already compromised traffic system. There are sections of Leucadia that are now being warned to evacuate. That eastern part of that city is only a few miles from the coast, just to the south and west of us on the other side of the mountain.

Update 10/22/07 11:55 a.m.:

After this is over, there will be many reviews of the procedures in place to inform people during disasters. One thing that needs addressing is a way to load-balance the web servers for governmental agencies. While considering that anlaysis, there may be the need to make sure people in the affected areas have priority access to the information. It can be done, but it will take some work.

The TV news reports that parts of Del Mar are now being advised to evacuate. I see that my local city's web site now has some information on the fires.

Update 10/22/07 12:05 p.m.:

I read a comment to this newspaper blog stating that a person who claims to live at the base of San Elijo Hills (the other side of the mounatin to the south of us) claims that the fire is moving away from them to the south, towards Rancho Santa Fe.

Many school districts will be close on Tuesday due to poor air quality.

Update 10/22/07 12:25 p.m.:

Attention starts to turn now to how to rest the emergency personnel and who replaces them for all the hard work they are doing. That's an important consideration for the several days duration of this disaster. The people that left their homes are vulnerable in many ways for the possessions they left behind as they evacuated.

All Solana Beach residents are told to be prepared to evacuate. The San Diego Wild Animal Park has been evacuated. The Del Mar Race Track has all 1,800 horse stalls filled, they are not sure where additional horses brought there would be held. QualComm Stadium already has 10,000 refugees. Refugees is a term never used before for San Diegans.

Update 10/22/07 12:40 p.m.:

It's 81 degrees outside today, heading for a high of 89. That's part of the fire's problems with the low humidity and high winds present.

The news reports that Pomerado Hospital workers are preparing to defend the facility as flames near.

Update 10/22/07 1:40 p.m.:

The fire north of us in Fallbrook has jumped the I-15. This is now the fire I will pay some attention to because the way the winds are blowing, we might be affected. I wonder if Camp Pendleton will be burned by the fire?

Valley Center is now under mandatory evacuation. That city is just to the northeast of us about 10-15 miles. The ENE winds from a fire there would blow WSW towards us directly.

Update 10/22/07 1:55 p.m.:

Governor Schwarzenegger just spoke and told us that many western states are sending help to us. One other representative said these are the driest conditions in 90 years.

Update 10/22/07 2:40 p.m.:

My power was out from about 2:00 p.m., until 2:30 p.m.

Update 10/22/07 3:50 p.m.:

Apparantly the nearby Coronado Hills fire that started early this morning, the one our neighbor woke us up about, is now 100% contained. That is great news!

I'm trying to find out more information about the Fallbrook fire's status and what's the status over in Valley Center. Unfortunately, the TV news coverage on those topics is sparse.

I haven't been able to access my local city's web site for hours. Many of the other news web site's are hard to reach as well.

I applaude that the reverse-911 calls are working so well. What the region needs to do is get an improved web server environment and lots more bandwidth in an emergency situation. Not all of us get a reverse-911 call, some don't need it. But, we do want access to information and that is hard to come by at times.

Update 10/22/07 7:20 p.m.:

I became so tired, I had to sleep again for a few hours.

I just read that in Carlsbad, those that live south of Palomar Airport Road are under a voluntary evacuation. That's the area my cousin and his wife live. Well, I just called him and they left for a hotel close to the coast. It was their house that Sherry and I retreated when flames threatened us in the October 1996 fire.

I am now able to access my local city's web site again. That's an important site for me as long as the information there is kept current.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is still keeping I-5 open for now. If that freeway is closed and I-15 stays closed, much of San Diego will be cut-off from other parts of southern California.

Update 10/22/07 7:30 p.m.:

Some residents around the county are reporting price gouging in some places which is illegal.

Okay a new section of a much earlier mandatory evacuation zone is now in effect. South of Del Dios Hwy/Encinitas Blvd., North of Sorrento Valley and west of I-15, all the way to the ocean. That region has a large number of multi-million dollar homes in San Diego.

I wonder how the insurance industry will be handling this disaster? In some places, there are still residents suing the insurance companies on claims from the fires of October 2003!

Many people are helping and volunteering at the evacuation centers that are filling up.

The Witch Creek fire (this fire I have been covering) is now 145,000 acres with 0% containment. Over 600 structures destroyed. Fire resources: 89 engines, 9 fire crews, 10 dozers, 2 water tenders -- about 625 firefighters. Winds to stay strong through tomorrow at least, maybe longer.

Update 10/22/07 7:45 p.m.:

I just read a reader comment on a news blog that the smoke is so thick in Fallbrook at Green Canyon and Reche Road and the fire was coming on strong from the east.

Air quality is really bad in San Diego now.

My site is being slowed by all the people coming here for information. I've served over 7,000 page views today alone!

Update 10/22/07 9:55 p.m.:

My server crashed tonight around 8:00 p.m., probably from all requests made upon the server. :-)

I just watched a TV news segment concerning the fire in Escondido that is threatening the brand new bridge construction and equipment used in that construction on I-15 and Via Rancho Parkway. The engineer there says they will do whatever they can to save that construction site.

I saw a reader post on a newspaper weblog indicating that fire had burned through south of Lake Wohlford in Valley Center around 5:00 p.m., tonight. I'm trying to find out more information on that situation as it represents the largest danger at this time to our home here in San Marcos. This is all I could determine at this time.

Update 10/22/07 10:20 p.m.:

I called 7/39 News and asked about current fire information at Valley Center. I was told they knew nothing about fire at Valley Center tonight.

Update 10/22/07 10:30 p.m.:

I'm signing off for tonight. I'll be back in the morning if my site remains up-and-running and no emergency evacuation takes place for us. In the meantime, say prayers for the victims of all the fires.

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I had to laugh when I read this article about Wal-Mart claiming prematurely appearing ads for Black Friday violated their copyrights.

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Apple released a Leopard Guided Tour Quickime video.

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One more sign that we need Network Neutrality codified into federal law without loopholes.

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I was surprised by this article about Java and mobile phones.

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An insightful story of a stuttering stage actor.

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I read this encouraging article about new job creation inside the U.S.

Don


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