Friday, May 31, 2013

Message from the Fire Chief: Freeway Fire Incidents

From the Desk of the Fire Chief,

The Lakeside Fire Protection District is very aware of the spate of 'freeway fires' that have occurred in the area over the last few weeks. I can assure our citizens that we are cooperating with other fire agencies as well as federal, state and local law enforcement officers to seek out the cause of these fires and what and/or whom is responsible for them.

These fires, although they have been kept relatively small so far, cause us to expend a large number of resources responding to and working in a dangerous environment. Our law enforcement colleagues are working tirelessly with us in a highly cooperative effort to control the traffic around these fires to keep the firefighters, law enforcement officers and the motoring public as safe as possible.

We know our citizens are interested in the cause of these fires and we appreciate your interest.  We will share with you what we can, when we can, as long as it does not in any way jeopardize an on going investigation.  For now, these fires are considered by us to be "under investigation".

As for the specific fires on Hwy 67, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department is the lead agency and they will be the source of any additional information about this case.  If a member of the public has specific information about these fires that may assist investigators you are asked to contact the Sheriff's Department at 858-565-5200.

As your Fire Chief I respectfully ask for your assistance with issues that can occur around all fires burning on or near the roadway.

1.      Watch for law enforcement officers and firefighters working on the roadway.  Just because you've passed one fire doesn't mean that's the only fire in that area.  Similarly, just because one fire vehicle is in front of you doesn't mean that more are not behind you. Stay alert for other emergency vehicles which might even be responding elsewhere.
2.      Fires may cause poor visibility with smoke crossing the roadway, slow down in areas where firefighters may be working to make sure you can both see and react to vehicles and personnel that might be hidden by the smoke on the roadway ahead of you.
3.      During firefighting activities, on and off ramps may be closed without warning.  Be prepared to take an alternate route if your ramp is closed.
4.      Watch for emergency vehicles who may be stopped in a traffic lane, facing the wrong way or may have fire hoses crossing the roadway. It is unlawful to drive over a fire hose unless directed to do so by a law enforcement officer or firefighter. You also may need to stop and wait for a period of time to allow firefighters to work safely on or near the roadway.

Finally, we know you wish to have updated information on these fires and our many other incidents but please bear with us. We are not at liberty to post everything we know as soon as we know it, we hope you understand.

Andy Parr
Fire Chief
Lakeside Fire Protection District

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