Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lakeside Fire Fighters Will Climb to Honor 9-11

Lakeside, Ca. - 

A team of Lakeside firefighters and their family members will be climbing 110-stories to honor the sacrifices made on 9/11 by firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers. The annual event, known as the San Diego 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb will be held on Sunday, September 8, 2013, at the San Diego Bayfront Hilton.

The event is a fundraiser for FirefighterAid, A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to caring for firefighters and their families through sickness, distress, and death.

The firefighters on the Lakeside team will climb in full firefighting bunker gear with SCBA (air tanks). This year will mark the third year of Lakeside's participation in this worthwhile event.

If you would like to make a donation to this fundraising effort in the name of the Lakeside Fire Fighters team, visit our fundraising page HERE.

Please come join us for on September 8, 2013, for a day of remembrance and fun.

Lakeside Fire Fighters' 2012 Stair Climb team.

 Post by: Captain Scott Culkin, Lakeside Fire District

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Communications Volunteer Group Offers Amateur Radio Training and Testing

Lakeside Administration Building-

Members of the Communications Volunteer Group offered instruction and testing to a group of fifteen at the Lakeside Administration Building on July 27, 2013. The Communications Volunteer Group is a joint venture between the Lakeside Fire Protection District and the Lakeside Amateur Radio Club. These volunteers are trained to work with the district to provide communications under varying conditions. They maintain a base station located on district property, and hold weekly nets.

Mike Maston, N6OPH (Lakeside Amateur Radio Club) provides instruction prior to testing.
The group of fifteen students represented a very diverse group of "future ham radio operators." From  Lakeside Fire Board members, to a Fire Engineer, Logistic Volunteers and CERT team members, to interested citizens, the group will increase the number of local hams that can communicate in times of disaster.

Future Ham Radio Operators

After an all day class where students are introduced to operating procedures and basic radio theory, the group will be administered a 35-question test. Upon completion of that test, the information is forwarded to the FCC where they will be issued Technician Class licenses. This license will allow these new hams to utilize frequencies most commonly utilized in disasters.

The Lakeside Fire Protection District congratulates these new amateur radio operators.

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

Lakeside Fire Receives an OES Engine Company

Lakeside Fire District-

The Lakeside Fire District has accepted delivery of an Office of Emergency Services engine company. OES Engine 305 is owned and operated by the State of California through their CalOES division. The California Office of Emergency Services has a long tradition of providing emergency services to the state dating back to World War II.

OES 305 at Station 26 in Blossom Valley
Emergency response and the creation of a statewide agency has deep roots in the 1941 "War Powers Act." This piece of legislation gave California's governor new powers to act to protect its citizens should they come under attack. The task of fulfilling this responsibility was assigned to the attorney general. To develop a plan, a meeting was held with fire chiefs from the ten "Civilian Defense Zones," and representatives from the three largest cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego). This committee would soon be known as the State Fire Advisory Committee. In 1951 this committee would develop the first regional plan to respond to fire related disasters.

OES 305 will proudly carry the community name "Lakeside" on deployments
In 1952 the State of California would make its first purchase of 58 engine companies. As part of the deployment plan, the decision was made to send these units in groups of five with a supervisor to incidents. This configuration of resources is still used to this day under the term "strike team.".

With the Korean Conflict came an expansion of this plan with the development of the "Office of Civil Defense." Within this organization was a branch dedicated to Fire and Rescue and Emergency Services.

As a result of the disastrous 1970 wildfires, the state's response to fires was completely revised under the new California Emergency Services Act. Under this new plan a "legal" basis was established for the governor's response to disasters within the state. This act gave birth to today's CalOES.

The OES pumper will be assigned to the Blossom Valley Fire Station where Lakeside personnel will maintain and staff the apparatus when needed. Its distinctive "yellow/green" paint scheme sets it apart from other fire apparatus in the District. So if you see this engine around town just remember it got its start in the uncertain times of 1941.

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bulls Only Rodeo Pays Tribute To Fallen Firefighters

Lakeside, CA -

This last weekend, the annual Bulls Only rodeo took a moment to pay tribute to first responders and the 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots who lost their lives in the line of duty last month.  Event coordinators asked the Lakeside Fire District to participate and Engine 2 and Medic 2 from the River Park fire station were honored to be involved in the event.  The meaning of the alarm code 3-3-5 was explained to the crowd and then it was silent as the bell was rung.  After this, fire personnel exited the arena and the 15th annual Bulls Only Rodeo got started with the Extreme Bronc Riding, Mutton Bustin, and then the Bulls.

Lakeside Engineer-Paramedic Matt Buzzell at the ceremony.

 Photos By: Captain Rick Dalldorf, Lakeside Fire District

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sheriff Helicopter Locates Structure Fire in Lakeside

Lemon Crest Area-

Lakeside Fire crews were alerted to a fully involved structure fire by a San Diego County Sheriff helicopter on routine patrol in the area. The ASTREA helicopter noticed a large glow emanating from the Lakeside area. Upon investigating they came across a larger structure in the 12300 block of Lemon Crest Dr that was fully involved. The Heartland Communications Center dispatched four structural engines, one truck company, an ALS medic unit, and two staff officers to the 1:03 AM fire.

Flames leap from the last intact cornier of the home.
Firefighter-Paramedics from Medic 2 put a large caliber hose stream on the fire.
Crews from Lake Jennings, to the Santee area, could now see the fire as they left their stations. The fire was burning through a large residential structure of all wood construction. This home sits high atop a knoll above the Lemon Crest Elementary School, and has been a visible fixture in the community of Lakeside for some time.

A firefighter sits on another large hose stream at the rear of the building.
Crews attack the fire with the "high volume" deck gun on Engine 1. It would take many additional line to bring the fire under control. 
Upon the arrival of Engine 1 (Riverview Station) they came across a locked gate and difficult access to the building. With the arrival of Engine 2 (River Park Station) and Engine 3 (Lake Jennings Station) a hose lay was made, with some pumper being used to boost the pressure. Command of the fire was assumed by Division Chief Ron Laff upon his arrival.

A firefighter starts the process of overhauling the fire.
Crews were quickly aided by firefighters from Santee with the arrival of Engine 4 and Truck 4 (Santee-Cottonwood Station). Multiple lines were deployed including a "deck gun" capable of delivering 1000 gallons of water per minute. Even with this huge delivery of water on the fire it was resistive to being "knocked-down." Crews continued to deploy lines

Eventually the fire was brought under control after an extensive "fire attack." But crews were now faced with extensive overhaul around a very unstable structure. Crews continued to look for hotspots buried deep under the mounds of roofing materials. The decision was made to have heavy equipment respond at daylight and knock down the remaining unstable walls.

A back-hoe operator digs out hot spots while firefighters continue to overhaul.
With sunrise a thick layer of smoke hung over the Lakeside area from the all night fire. Overhaul operations continued till 4:00 PM the following day.

Currently the San Diego Sheriff Bomb-Arson team is investigating the fire. Lakeside was assisted by the Santee Fire Department and Heartland Fire & Rescue. A total 12 Lakeside personnel responded to the fire, assisted by 7 personnel from the Santee Fire Deaprtment.

The Logistical Volunteer Group provided incident support throughout the night, and following day. This group of dedicated volunteers opened a rehab area, and transported equipment needed at the fire scene.

Dispatched Units: LKS-E1, LKS-E2, LKS-E3, SNT-E4, SNT-T4, LKS-M2, HRT-B3, LKS-4103, LKS-4101, LKS-E26, LKS-4140

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire Protection District
Photos By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Fire Captain Chuck Palmore, Lakeside Fire District, and Fire Engineer Robert Williams

View 2013 Incident Map in a larger map

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mountain Fire: Central Zone Strike Team in a Tough Fight

San Bernardino National Forest-

On July 15th, 2013, at 1:43 PM, a wildfire in the community of Mountain Center ignited in the area of Highway 243. The fire quickly spreads in light fuels where it eventually jumps the highway and spreads into the steep foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains. On that first day the fire grew from an initial 5 acres to an astounding 4,700 acres. Fire equipment from throughout the Southland was quickly mobilized to control this blaze that was now burning in pristine forest land.

The Mountain Fire on the first day photographed from Hemet. The circle of lights above the fire is an air attack plane coordinating night helicopter drops.
In the predawn hours of July 16th the Heartland Communications Center received a request to dispatch a strike team of brush engines to the fire. Apparatus from Lakeside, Santee, Barona, Alpine, and Viejas quickly assembled and started the northward trek to Riverside County.

Upon arriving at the fire the crew was committed to an 8000' hose lay in Coldwater Canyon. Control of the fire in the area is essential to keep it from burning towards the community of Idyllwild. Crews were working in extreme terrain with ambient temperatures in the mid-90's.  This assignment would occupy the bulk of there first 24 hours on the fire line.

The Mountain Fire makes a hard run upslope near the community of Garner Valley.
The fire is burning in heavy fuels in steep conditions east of the community of Garner Valley.
As of this posting the fire is approaching 15,000 acres, and has spread towards the community of Palm Springs. Unfortunately dwellings have been lost in the early hours of the fire, but crews have managed to safely evacuate multiple camps in the area.

An engine company from Corona stages near Palm Canyon in Palm Springs. Temperatures on this day were near 107 degrees with poor air quality. 
Fire burns in Andreas Canyon near Palm Canyon. Palm Springs is coated in a layer of ash falling like snow.
Palm Springs spent most of the day in darkness under the smoke column.
Strike Team 6440c could be committed to this incident for 14 days, but that will depend on the ability to control this fire burning in irreplaceable forest.

The video below is raw footage of the fire. It's provided to give our readers an opportunity to see the conditions firefighters are dealing with. It tends to be a little long so feel free to "fast forward" through some of the coverage.

We will update you as information becomes available. Tonight we have received information that Idyllwild is to be evacuated. The fire has grown to about 20,000 acres.

7/18/13 Update: The strike team has been assigned to Branch I, Division D. This is the perimeter area south of the town of Idyllwild. The crew will continue containment/mop-up operations. The strike team is working with hand crews that are cutting line between the fire and the town.

The bulk of the fire appears to have moved into the high country around the San Jacinto Wilderness. Some fire continues to work it's way down towards the desert floor.

Fire on the ridge line above Palm Springs. Fire planners have crews in the area should the fire make a downhill run.
USFS has an information booth on Palm Canyon to keep locals informed.

7/19/13 Update: Strike Team 6440C was not utilized today as the fire has moved to the high country above the Idyllwild area. Evacuation orders were issued in Idyllwild yesterday, and the community of Pine Cove is on a "evacuation stand-by." Containment of the fire is about 15%. Captain Scott Culkin reports all is well with the strike team members. Current fire size is 27,179 acres.

Strike Team 6440C staged at base camp today. (Photo By: Engineer Chris Downing)
Incident Map (Photo By: Captain Scott Culkin)
Example of the beautiful forest that is being consumed by this fire. (Photo By: Probationary Firefighter Corey Palmore)
Brush 1 working on the division assignment. (Photo By: Probationary Firefighter Corey Palmore)
DC-10 on it's final approach over 6440C's division. (Photo By: Probationary Firefighter Corey Palmore)
Lakeside Fire Captain Scott Culkin looks over some of the devastation of the Mountain Fire.
 (Photo By: Probationary Firefighter Corey Palmore)
Mountain Fire from the staging area. (Photo By: Probationary Firefighter Corey Palmore)
Members of Strike Team 6440C (Photo By: Probationary Firefighter Corey Palmore)
Mountain Fire on the evening of July 19th. (

7/20/13 Update: Strike Team 6440C has been assigned to Branch III, Division V. For the next 24 hours they will be supporting line construction as containment efforts continue. 

7/21/13 Update: Strike Team 6440C completed their 24 hours on Division V. At about 4:00 AM the strike team was pulled back off of the division due to lightning and heavy rains. Currently the crews are resting in anticipation of demobilization and returning home.

Strike Team 6440C at base camp after a night of lightning and rain.
Video and Photography By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District
Photography By: Fire Captain Scott Culkin, Fire Engineer Chris Downing, Probationary Firefighter-Paramedic Corey Palmore.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lakeside Units Assist with Vegetation Fire in Ramona


On July 13, 2013 Lakeside Fire units were called to assist Cal Fire and U.S.F.S units with a vegetation fire just off of Main St. in Ramona.  Lakeside E2 and WT 7251, both from Lakeside Station 2, went to assist with the suppression efforts.
The body of the main fire from Hwy 67 looking south.
The fire had started along Hwy 67 and moved quickly, spotting ahead of the main body of the fire and causing an additional fire.  The second fire was accessed off of Dye Rd.

A panoramic view of the second fire.  This was the smaller of the two fires.
E2 and WT7251 were assigned to Division B, off of Dye Rd, and assisted with mop up activities for several hours.  The water tender was utilized to wet down the burn area, making quicker work of the mop up.  It is rare that we have topography such as this that allows us to use this function of our apparatus.  As the water tender drove by the crews mopping up with hose lines it was met with applause.

 Water Tender 7251 uses it's bumper nozzles to make quick work of overhauling the fire.

The quick work of Cal Fire and USFS resources, with the aid of Aircraft, were able to quickly extinguish the fire, holding the two fires to a total of 64 acres.  The fire burned through populated areas but no structures were lost, a testament to the effective suppression efforts of the crews on scene.  Cal Fire is investigating the cause of the fire.

Photos and Story by Captain Bernie Molloy

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Central Zone Strike Team Assists CalFire on the Chariot Fire

Mt Laguna- 

On the afternoon of July 6, 2013, CalFire received reports of a new fire off of Highway S-2 near the Butterfield Ranch. Arriving units found a well established fire burning in some of the most challenging terrain in San Diego County. Burning in the near inaccessible Chariot Canyon area fire crews struggled to make access.  Over the next few hours the terrain driven fire would start making runs upward towards the Cleveland National Forest along Sunrise Highway.

Crews watch as the fire crests the ridge line near Sunrise Highway.
As the fire continued its southward push some important infrastructure found itself threatened. Concerned that the fire could make a significant run towards Mt Laguna fire planners prepared for the worst. A request for strike teams from throughout Southern California was made in anticipation of significant fire growth.. Part of this request was filled by the Central Zone when five brush rigs, and a chief officer, made their way toward the fire in the predawn hours of July 8th.

The upward slope from the desert is evident in this picture. This type of terrain made control difficult.
Units from Lakeside, Santee, Barona, Alpine, and Viejas responded to base camp where they quickly received orders to support operations in the Sunrise Highway area. Crews were sent there because the fire had established itself in an area known as Storm Canyon, and would soon make a hard run towards the pine covered hills around Garnet and Monument Peaks.

While it  looks like the moon now, give Mother Nature some time and see what happens.

A "Dust Devil" makes it way through the burned area. These weather phenomena are problematic as they can carry hot ash into unburned areas. They can also be a sign of unstable weather to come...
The strike team supported a number of operations to stop the fire's progress west of the highway. Crews worked for 24 hours until the following morning when they were relieved by other fire crews. Eventually through hard work, and a little help from mother nature, the forward progress of the fire slowed. Fire planners felt that enough control had been achieved that strike team 6440c could be released. Currently 7055 acres have been consumed and 120 structures have been damaged or destroyed.

CalFire and USFS crews will continue to work this fire for days. The fire is currently being managed in unified command between CalFire and USFS.

Photos By: Fire Engineer Robert Williams, and Probationary Firefighter Kyle Zauss.

View 2013 Incident Map in a larger map

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lakeside Firefighters Assist with Vegetation Fire

El Monte Valley -

A fast-moving vegetation fire drew a multi-agency response to Lakeside on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Firefighters from Lakeside, Santee, CalFire, and U.S. Forest Service were alerted just after 1:00 p.m. for the fire in steep, rugged terrain just northwest of the El Capitan Reservoir dam.

Because of the difficult access, ground resources assigned to the fire were limited to Type III (wildland) engines, water tenders, and hand crews. Firefighters were assigned to put in two hoselays that extended several thousand feet up the side of El Cajon Mountain. Both hoselays were supported by handcrews including several Interagency Hotshot Crews.

A CalFire S2T makes a steep decent to make a drop on the western perimeter of the fire.
In addition to the ground forces assigned to this incident, several air tankers and helicopters made both fire retardant and water drops to keep the fire in check until ground crews could put in fire line.

The fire was managed utilizing unified command due to the multijurisdictional response. The lead agency was the U.S. Forest Service as the fire was within the boundaries of the Cleveland National Forest.

Lakeside units assigned to this incident included: Chief 4101 (Parr), Division 4105 (Tockstein), Brush 1, Water Tender 7251.

Fire viewed from Blossom Valley. Note the very rugged terrain.
The "Peutz Fire" followed the same basic footprint as the "El Monte Fire" back in 2010

Post by: Captain Scott Culkin, Lakeside Fire District
Photo by: Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District