Tag Archives: CAL fire

San Marcos, CA: California fires and red flag warnings remind us to be prepared

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for San Marcos and San Diego County through Wednesday, Nov. 14. Red flag warnings are designed to alert fire departments of the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity.

According to CALFIRE, the type of weather patterns forecasted for the area include low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, the possibility of dry lightning strikes, or any combination of the above.

During heightened fire danger, CAL FIRE and San Marcos Fire Department will place additional firefighters on duty, staff more fire engines and keep more equipment on 24 hours a day to be able to respond to any new fires.

“Wildfires burning in Ventura, Los Angeles and Butte counties are a clear reminder that we are in a dangerous fire season, and that one could flare up any moment, especially with the forecasted Santa Ana winds heading to San Diego County,” said Fire Chief Brett VanWey.

To prepare, San Marcos Fire Department and the County of San Diego are recommending residents take a “Ready, Set, Go!” approach for peak fire season.

Homeowners are asked to get “ready” by creating or maintaining at least one hundred and fifty feet of defensible space – but to do so only early in the morning when the grasses are still dewy to prevent sparking a fire in the dry heat of the day.

Residents can also get “ready” by making an emergency plan, gathering emergency supplies and making sure smoke detectors are in working condition.

If a fire breaks out, San Marcos residents can get “set” to evacuate by staying updated on the latest local safety information by visiting the city’s website, following San Marcos @sanmarcoscity on FacebookTwitter and Instagram; registering for e-notifications; and turning radios to AM 1610.

Finally, if told to do so by a public safety official or you feel unsafe, be ready to “go” by taking the evacuation steps necessary to give your family and home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

“San Marcos is no stranger to wildfire and it is up to all of us to help keep ourselves, our property and the community safe,” said Fire Chief Brett VanWey.

It is important that residents stay connected before, during and after emergencies.

In addition to city information channels, residents can register cell phones with San Diego County’s free AlertSanDiego notification system by visiting www.readysandiego.org to sign up. Once registered, residents will receive calls or texts with local emergency information.

For more information about how you can prepare for emergencies, visit www.san-marcos.net/beprepared or visit ReadySanDiego.org. For red flag warning updates or to learn how you can do your part to reduce wildfire risk, visit CALFIRE’s website.


San Marcos firefighters help CSUSM students test drone technology

During a wildfire simulation, students explored how drones could deliver hoses to crews

Last month North County firefighters gathered in San Marcos for a wildfire simulation, but this wasn’t your typical training.
The City of San Marcos rallied crews from several cities to help California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) students test a drone technology that could improve how wildfires are fought.

“Firefighters spend a lot of time and energy shuttling hoses from the engine to the actual wildfire,” explained Nick Blaylock, one of the students involved. “And they’re often doing this up steep slopes and across rough terrain, which is exhausting.”

Drones, however, could possibly help crews conserve some energy by air-dropping those hose- packs so firefighters don’t have to haul them. As part of a senior project, Blaylock and four other students spent months exploring that with Skylift Global, a San Marcos-based company that makes drones capable of delivering supplies to first-responders.
Though Skylift Global has been in business for three years, serving firefighters is new territory it wanted to explore–so the company submitted a proposal for the Senior Experience Program, which assigns CSUSM students to real-world projects like these.
The students began by researching what crews face during a wildfire. That led them to San Marcos Fire Battalion Chief James Colston, who oversees the department’s training and safety division.“We’re fortunate to have Cal State San Marcos right here in our backyard, so we were happy to help,” he said. “We invited them to observe our annual training, which I think opened their eyes.”

It did, in fact, says Blaylock. His team realized that a drone probably couldn’t help much during the early stages of a wildfire because the flames are too unpredictable. But it likely could help during the later stages, when a fire border has been established.
Based on that, the students designed a simulation that included fire hose packs every 100-feet, as if a drone had peppered them out for crews. Now, all they needed were firefighters to run the test.

“Thankfully, Chief Colston got an amazing turnout for us,” Blaylock said. “We were so thankful that so many firefighters were willing to come volunteer their time on a Sunday morning to help us.”

During the May 6 simulation, firefighters from the cities of San Marcos, Carlsbad, Escondido and Rancho Santa Fe—as well as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)—participated. Results showed that if crews did not have to manually haul hose packs, they worked about 18 percent faster—and theoretically, would be less fatigued during a real wildfire.

“While time is a good measurement, fatigue is really the key factor,” explained Colston, who added that he can see the potential support drones could provide. “If something like this can increase efficiency while reducing the chance of firefighters getting hurt, then I’m all for it.”
That exact sentiment is what inspired Amir Emadi to start Skylift Global. His father was working as a United States cooperative in Iraq when he was killed by Iraqi forces while protecting a city.

“Since then, I’ve spent my life finding a way to introduce technology to the people who dedicate their lives to protect us,” Emadi said. “I formed Skylift to help our first-responders save time, money and lives by delivering their critical supplies with our heavy-lift drones.”
As a next step, Emadi will use the research conducted by the CSUSM students to develop a plan to bring the drones to market. There are still hurdles to navigate, as drones are legally not allowed to be in the air during a wildfire, but Emadi is optimistic he can keep the momentum going.

“It was refreshing to work with such a driven, intelligent and responsible team,” he said, adding that although the CSUSM students have now graduated, some have remained interns and he hopes to hire them. “I am so thankful that San Marcos is home to such bright young talent like this, as well as city leaders who value innovation and are open to collaboration.”

For more information about Skylift Global, visit https://www.skyliftglobal.com/

Small San Elijo Hills Vegetation Fire

IMG_5749Small San Elijo Hills Vegetation Fire is outDSC_1598

A small vegetation fire was quickly contained at the entrance to San Elijo Hills, near the entrance to the old recycling plant South East of Albertsons. Calls came in from San Elijo Hills residents around 2:34 PM Sunday. A quick response from San Marcos Fire, and Elfin Forest Fire Department, quickly contained the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation at this stage. Please report any suspicious activity to San Marcos Fire Department.

UPDATE 3:00 PM-The fire has flared up calling air support and help from CAL Fire. Please stay off the roads so emergency responders can get in fast.

Update 5:05 PM:

‪#‎MarketFire‬ Update: After an initial containment of a fire in the San Elijo Hills area, north county fire resources and ‪#‎CalFire‬ were deployed to 1500 block of San Elijo Road. Forward progress of the fire has been halted at four acres. No evacuations have been issued; no injuries or damage to property reported.

As fire crews work to achieve full containment and mop up, expect a road closure at the south entrance of San Elijo Road for at least two hours.

Four-acre brush fire at Discovery Lake fully contained

Four-acre brush fire at Discovery Lake fully contained

No injuries or property damage reported

At approximately 12:30 am on Tuesday, June 21 a four-acre brush fire broke out near the south side of Discovery Lake at Mendocino Drive and Buckhorn Avenue.

Response teams included the San Marcos, Vista, Carlsbad, and Rancho Santa Fe Fire Departments along with CAL Fire and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. No injuries or property damage has been reported.

With 14 units responding, crews contained the blaze by approximately 2 am. While no evacuations were issued, residents off of Mendocino Drive were alerted of the fire. The fire’s cause is currently under investigation by the San Marcos Fire Department.

The San Marcos Fire Department will be joining the San Elijo Hills Association (HOA) Annual Meeting


The San Marcos Fire Department will be joining the San Elijo Hills Association (HOA) Annual Meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, December 16 at 6:00 p.m. at the San Elijo Elementary School.

The San Marcos Fire Department will present information regarding fire protection, evacuation plans, community resources and ways San Elijo Hills homeowners can get involved. Representatives from the San Marcos Sheriff and Cal Fire will also join the meeting if schedules allow. San Elijo Hills Association homeowners interested in this topic should attend.

Rocky Fire in Elfin Forest

View of Rocky Fire from ridge above Cambria

“Rocky” Fire in Elfin Forest is contained at 3.5 acres. Quick action on the ground and from water drop helicopters refilling in local reservoirs. The fire started around 2:30 pm. Sunday and started moving quickly in Elfin Forest. The fire started in the area of Elfin Oaks Road and Rocky Road. Smoke was visible from San Elijo Hills.

The fire burned 3.5 acres before crews had it fully contained in an hour and a half later, according to local fire officials. Three structures were threatened by the flames, and several homes were asked to evacuate.

Crews from Cal Fire, Elfin Forest Fire Department, and the San Marcos Fire Department responded with ground and air resources.

Pictures from Rocky Fire earlier today

We appreciate all the Facebook posts, photos and comments they help us all stay alert and informed.


San Diego County Firefighters Say Thanks to San Marcos


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San Diego County Firefighters Recognize San Marcos Community Cooperation During Wildfires.

The event was attended by San Marcos Fire, Cal Fire, Elfin Forest Fire, San Diego County Sheriff, Daisy Troop 1326, San Marcos City officials and The City Council. The event was held at San Elijo Hills Fire station on Monday May 19th. Chief Nick Schuler of Cal Fire and Brett Van Way of San Marcos Fire thanked the community for evacuating quickly, preparing property with defensible space and the help from Velocitos Water, The Marines, The San Diego County Sheriff.

A couple things we learned from attending. 100% containment of the Cocos fire should come this week. Containment means a line around the entire fire with hand crews and bulldozers. Cal Fire will turn over incident command after full containment to San Marcos City Fire. In the days after the Cocos fire; Cal Fire used aircraft equipped with infrared to look for hot spots and provide maps for the crews on the ground to mop up. The DC-10 is not owned by Cal Fire and was a rented piece of equipment. They will further explore the opportunities to use the DC-10 more often in the future.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The winds were not as strong as the 2007 Coronado Hills Fire in San Marcos. Community education and workshops will take place in the future weeks/months to educate the community to be better prepared.

We asked Chief Brett Van Wey of San Marcos Fire Department how San Elijo Hills can show their appreciation. He was humble and asked that we support the City of San Marcos event currently being planned.  The City will make a formal announcement on this event soon. They are working on the location and date. The fire fighters appreciate the simple thanks! Many expressed that they do the job because it’s a calling for them. This is what they are born to do.  They asked that we listen in times of crisis, be prepared for such emergencies and they love defensible space.

If you would like to thank Cal Fire for their incredible help; we recommend sending thank you letters, that can be sent to Sacramento, that show how effective a job they did in an urban and brush setting. Send letters to Chief Nick Schuler of Cal Fire San Diego Unit 8709 Circle R Drive, Escondido, CA 92026

The San Elijo Hills Foundation, The San Elijo Hills Association, SEH groups and clubs are also working collaboratively on ways to honer the fire departments, 1st responders, and help victims.

Cal Fire Update on Cocos Fire 93% Contained

Last Updated: May 19, 2014 7:15 am
Date/Time Started: May 14, 2014 4:00 pm
Administrative Unit: San Marcos Fire / CAL FIRE San Diego Unit / Elfin Forest Fire Dept
County: San Diego County
Location: Village Drive and Twin Oaks Road, San Marcos
Acres Burned – Containment: 1,995 acres – 93% contained
Structures Destroyed: 40
Evacuations: All evacuations have been lifted click here to get more
Injuries: 3
Cause: Under Investigation
Total Fire Personnel: 514 firefighters
Total Fire Engines: 21
Total Fire crews: 13
Total Dozers: 1
Total Water Tenders: 2
Incident Management Team: CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 4
Long/Lat: -117.1599/33.1137
Conditions: Cocos fire activity has been limited to smoldering within the fire perimeter. Firefighters continue to construct new containment lines and improve existing containment lines on the Cocos fire

Cal Fire Cocos Fire Update for Monday- 87% Contained

Cocos Fire Incident Information:
Last Updated: May 18, 2014 7:40 pm
Date/Time Started: May 14, 2014 4:00 pm
Administrative Unit: San Marcos Fire / CAL FIRE San Diego Unit / Elfin Forest Fire Dept
County: San Diego County
Location: Village Drive and Twin Oaks Road, San Marcos
Acres Burned – Containment: 1,995 acres – 87% contained
Structures Threatened: 35
Structures Destroyed: 40
Evacuations: Evacuations are in progress and remain in effect. Click here to get more:by clicking here.
Injuries: 3
Cause: Under Investigation
Total Fire Personnel: 651 firefighters
Total Fire Engines: 55
Total Fire crews: 17
Total Helicopters: 2
Total Dozers: 9
Total Water Tenders: 21
Incident Management Team: CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 4
Long/Lat: -117.1599/33.1137
Conditions: Cocos fire activity has been limited to smoldering within the fire perimeter. Firefighters continue to construct new containment lines and improve existing containment lines on the Cocos fire
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