Shortly before 11:00 a.m. a vegetation fire broke out in the City of San Diego near Del Norte High School. San Diego Fire resources responded to the wind driven event and found the Santa Ana winds were pushing the fire front faster than crews could react. Soon a call went out for assistance in controlling the fast moving vegetation fire.
At 12:30 a.m. the Heartland Communications Center received a request to send a strike team of brush engines to the fire. Engines from Barona, Sycuan, Santee, Alpine, and Lakeside assembled as Strike Team 6440C. The team would be led by Fire Chief Ken Kremensky and Battalion Chief Todd Feneis.
The fire continued it's westward push towards Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch. With ideal canyon alignment to the northeast winds the fire would make fast runs through the light, and medium, fuels. When it became obvious that the fire would run through the canyons on the east side of Rancho Santa Fe a request was made by fire managers for structural engines.
At 2:36 p.m. another request was received to send urgently needed engines to the fire. Five structural type engines from Lakeside, Heartland Fire & Rescue, and Santee were sent to the fire as Strike Team 6441A. Battalion Chief Steve Swaney from Heartland Fire & Rescue would lead the team.
Off-duty personnel quickly filled voids left behind, and staffed reserve apparatus. At this time it is unknown how long crews will be committed to this fire. But given the expected fire weather it's likely they will remain till a high degree of confidence exists that this fire has been brought under control.
At this time the fire exceeds 700 acres and has 5% control.
Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire Protection District
Information: Why are strike teams numbered with a letter?
Strike teams have a numerical identifier that denotes the area where the team originated from. From a management standpoint it's easier to talk to a single chief running five engines than each individual engine. The letter simply identifies the type of engines. Strike teams with an "A" indicate large structural type engines while a "C" indicates smaller brush type engines.