Wednesday, October 24, 2007

News sporadic, areas reopening

The best news sources are still the Union Trib blog and the KPBS Twitter feed.

No solid news coming from the north or east about the Witch fire. Now it is uncertain if it actually connected to the Poomacha fire. That may seem odd that officials don't know if two fires connected, but consider that much of the reporting was done in early morning hours, the smoke is awful, the terrain is incredibly steep and rugged, and the fires jump around so its not always possible to know what patch of flames came from which parent fire. The two fires are big, they are close, they are not contained and they are dangerous as all hell. 'Nuf said.

The Harris fire is whipping around, too. Jamul proper is probably safe, but the area almost due east (Skyline Truck Trail/Lyons Valley/Honey Springs intersection)has been hard hit, with an unconfirmed estimate of 50 homes burned.

The greatest concern that I see is the fires in Camp Pendleton are threatening power lines out of the San Onofre nuclear reactor, which is providing the bulk of San Diego's electric power right now. KPBS Twitter just announced that backfires have been set to try to keep the flames away from transmission lines.

More and more people are being let back into the evacuation zones. This is not necessarily going to help evacuees. Power, water and gas service is out in a number of these areas, a good number of houses have burned down (over 1,000 by most counts), and the places may not be habitable. Areas that are well outside the burn zones, such as Chula Vista and Del Mar, should be fine, but Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, and areas may be safe from fire without being completely habitable. At least people can check their homes and pick up stuff they may need for the next few days until utilities are restored.

Still off limits are Ramona, much of Escondido, all of the San Pasqual Valley, Julian, the SR 67 corridor, the greater Jamul area, everywhere along SR 94 to the border and further east, Fallbrook, parts of Camp Pendleton, Palomar Mountain, Spring Valley, and just about anywhere downwind (east) of the major fires.


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