Monday, August 8, 2011

Barona Vegetation Fire Draws Interagency Response

Barona- Just after 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 8,2011, Lakeside firefighters were called to assist several other agencies with a vegetation fire that was burning at approximately the 8 mile marker of Wildcat Canyon Road on the Barona Indian Reservation.  There had been an initial dispatch for Cal Fire and Forest service units for a fire on Wildcat Canyon, and shortly after Barona Units were called to investigate smoke at the north end of the reservation.  
The view from the South as units approached the fire

The fire was quickly determined to be on the Barona Reservation so a medium wildland dispatch was put out for Heartland units to respond.  On the dispatch were Battalion 1, Brush 2, Engine 1, and Engine 3 (Lakeside); Battalion 8, Engine, Brush and Medic 27 (Barona); Brush 4 (Santee).
The Fire bumps Wildcat Canyon Rd.
As initial units were arriving on scene, the fire was only 1-2 acres but it was traveling at a moderate rate of spread across the light flashy fuels (light grass and annual growth shrubs) and heading towards the thicker vegetation that covered the rock-strewn mountainside.  Fire crews and aerial resources began attacking the flanks of the fire, which was moving along the hillside toward the west, being driven by topography and slight upslope winds. The fire also had a slight backing motion to it, spreading slowly to the east, where it would meet Wildcat Canyon Road.  Crews, including the Lakeside and Santee units, began arriving on scene and supplementing the hose lays that had been started by Barona Fire, Forest Service, and Cal Fire Units.
A Cal Fire Air Drop over Lakeside Engine 3
The Fire was quickly handled by the resources on hand and held to approximately 10 acres. In addition to the engine companies and aerial operations, both handcrews and a dozer were brought in to aid with the suppression operations.  This fire shows that the vegetation is drying out as the summer progresses.  We have steadily seen fire intensity increase over the summer as the fuel loads become more susceptible to fire spread.  This is a reminder that all people who own property in an urban interface area should continue to be vigilant about maintaining their defensible space.
A view from above the fire.
This fire, which was run under a joint Incident Command between Barona and Cal Fire with Lakeside Battalion 1 assigned as Operations Section Chief, is an example of how well the various agencies in San Diego County work with one another, especially in these urban interface areas.  It is due to the ongoing efforts by all agencies to train together and follow the same tactics and strategies during emergency operations that we can have crews from 7 different agencies all working together seamlessly completing an objective.  The training earlier in the year such as the San Diego County Wildland Drill, and the annual RT 130 Wildland Refresher Course are starting to pay their usual dividends in our inter-agency operations as we progress through the summer wildland season.

Story By:  Engineer/Paramedic Bernie Molloy
Photos By: Chief Ken Kremensky and Firefighter/Paramedic Matt Buzzell

1 comment:

  1. These towns also need a protective encirclement to hold an encroaching fire at bay. A vegetation reduced space. Or a belt of fire resistant vegetation such as European deciduous trees.