Freeway Brush Fire Near Our House

Angst close to home

Experience Report 20120927

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The Experience

Our home is on the rim of a large canyon.  The canyon is also a city park that has heavy vegetation, brush, large trees and plenty of dry grass.  The side of the canyon also hosts a major cross-town freeway.  Many times we have had fires started by cigarettes tossed from cars passing by.  In fact, cigarettes are the most common cause of fires in this canyon.  We have witnessed, on occasion, traffic accidents that have also resulted in brush fires.  So, given our location, we are always on the alert for the smell of smoke or the sounds of fire equipment on the move.

Kathleen was next door at the neighbors and called me to say that she could see activity in the canyon along I-52, so I went out to investigate.

The photos below are what we saw.

When I got to the rim of the canyon on the cul-de-sac outside my driveway, this is what I saw.  The smoke was dense and whatever brush in that area was going up fast.  We heard the fire department helicopter departing the scene after a water drop.

A little work with the zoom lens showed that there were already several pieces of equipment on the scene.

Several of the firemen had cut through the chain link fence that isolates the freeway to provide access for their hoses.  My neighbor Akmal commented that the location of the fire is actually on a community golf course and therefore the cause of the fire likely had nothing to do with the freeway.  The implication, of course, was that one of the golfers had likely thrown a cigarette.  Either that or arson.

While the first team worked, traffic on the freeway was backing up.  Before long, the freeway would be fully shut down.  Note the two trucks approaching the scene along the shoulder of the road.

As we watched, the "big iron" started rolling in.  Note the 6x6 truck at the center of the photo above.  This truck is a 4 door truck and looks very much like Thor with 6-wheel drive.  Also note the news crew with their tripods in the middle of one of the traffic lanes.

Soon another 6x6 truck also appeared.

Arriving next was a large water tanker; just to the right of the TV crew.

From the northeast the fire attack helo returned after filling up his tanks.

The helicopter circled a number of times waiting for drop instructions.

Plenty of equipment is on the scene now: helicopter above and many large trucks below.

As the ground crew got the upper hand, the helo was waved off and he dumped his water load over the canyon.  Hopefully, there were no hikers on that trail, although it would have made a great story.  I assume that the helicopter did not want to land with a full load of water or waste fuel transporting it back to base.

As the ground crews brought the fire under control the smoke plume was greatly reduced.

Living on the canyon can be exciting at times.  We greatly appreciate the timely response of the local fire control teams.  We saw engines from the San Diego Fire Department as well as the Miramar Fire Department (associated with MCAS Miramar) and while they appeared to "over-respond" I would much, much prefer that situation to the under-response and letting the fire spread to the housing development that was very close by.

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