Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tentative Good News

KPBS Google map of burn areas. A good one to see burn zones vs. evacuation zones, and with helpful comment bubbles. Updated more often than most of the others, too. Try viewing it with the "Hybrid" view which provides a good sense of the topography.

It looks like the winds have relented and/or shifted enough to halt the westward expansion of the fires. This spared the coastal areas of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas in the north, and the city of Chula Vista and the southernmost reach of the City of San Diego in the south. People have been warned to stay on alert for evacuations in those areas (particularly the south county locations), but it's not likely. Some areas immediately south of the Witch fire, Poway and Carmel Valley, are also allowing people back in. All of these will help relieve the burden on evacuation shelters.

Less good is the uncertain information about the fires in Rice Canyon and near Mount Palomar. The Rice Canyon one has no containment and could spread a number of directions depending on the wind, while the Poomacha/Mount Palomar fire is estimated at 23,000 acres and may be merging with the northern edge of the Witch fire. People east of the fire zone, in Julian, are being warned to prepare for evacuation, which will be very difficult because of how remote that area of the county is. People are being told to go to Borrego Springs, in the desert due east.

The most worrisome area remains the narrow, nearly inaccessible strip of land that lies in between the southernmost reach of the Witch fire and the northernmost extent of the Harris fire. SR 67 has been evacuated between Ramona and Lakeside, and northern Jamul and parts of Rancho San Diego are likewise being evacuated. The very latest reports are heartening because it sounds like the Harris fire may be running out of steam and not pressing north.


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