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Stories for October 23, 2007

KPBS Reporters Heading to Julian to Report on Fire Situation

Oct. 23
By Andrew Phelps, Alison St John

The community of Julian has been evacuated for fear that the Witch Creek Fire may head east to Julian. KPBS Reporters Alison St John and Andrew Phelps are on their way to the Julian fires and shared this update at 11:45 p.m.(click the "listen" icon to hear the report).

Witch Fire Continues Path of Destruction

Oct. 23
By City News Service and KPBS Public Broadcasting

The nearly 200,000-acre Witch Fire continued its path of destruction today, though shifts in wind patterns slowed its spread, allowing thousands of evacuated residents to return to their homes.

Migrants Surrender to Border Patrol as Flames Burn Route

Oct. 23
By Elliot Spagat and KPBS Public Broadcasting

One of Southern California's largest wildfires has frightened many illegal immigrants from hiking through a popular corridor to cross from Mexico even as the Border Patrol has withdrawn some agents.

10,000 S.D. Evacuees Take Shelter at Qualcomm Stadium

Oct. 23
By Ana Tintocalis and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Qualcomm Stadium is now San Diego County's largest emergency evacuation center. People have been streaming into the stadium for the past three days. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis reports.

Residents Were Sure Firefighters Could Save Their Homes Again

Oct. 23
By Martha Mendoza and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Running Springs firefighter Steve Dvorak rubbed smoke-sore eyes as he watched a crew spray water on a small wooden home they were not going to save. Around him dozens more were in flames or already reduced to smoldering foundations.

Health Organization Says Anxiety, Stress Normal in Traumatic Situations

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Feelings of anxiety, shock and disbelief are normal following a disaster like San Diego County's devastating wildfires and people should seek help, the nonprofit Mental Health America said today.

Winds Hindering Firefighting Efforts

Oct. 23
By Ed Joyce and KPBS Public Broadcasting

In Southern California winds are making wildfires unstoppable. Thousands of firefighters are battling the worst of the raging blazes in San Diego County. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has more.

Harris Fire Evacuees Find Comfort at Southeastern Shelter

Oct. 23
By Ed Joyce and KPBS Public Broadcasting

The Harris Fire in southeastern San Diego County has forced hundreds of people to find shelter at a Youth Center on the campus of Chula Vista High School. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has more on the efforts to take care of those people.

Mandatory Ramona to Lakeside Evacuation; Updated Shelter Info

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego County Animal Services has opened a shelter for large animals near Gillespie Field, 1960 Joe Crosson Dr. in El Cajon. Directions: Take East on Hwy 67; exit at Bradley Avenue and turn left; right on Cuyamaca; and left on Weld Blvd. The animal evacuation shelter will be on the right hand side of the road.

Latest Monster Wildfire Chars Slopes of Mount Palomar

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

A structure fire set tinder-dry brush ablaze on the La Jolla Indian Reservation today, spawning a wildfire that quickly spread over tens of thousands of acres as it moved across the flanks of Mount Palomar.

Road Closures List

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Northbound and southbound ramps to Mission Road and Old Highway 395. State Route 76 between Pauma Reservation and State Route 79. State Route 67, between Scripps Poway Parkway and Highland. Valley Road State Route 78, between Haverford Road and Santa. Ysabel at Route 79 State Route 79, between Route 78 and Route 76.

Evacuations For Rancho San Diego, Pine Hills, Julian

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

10-23-07 2:17 p.m. Evacuation of Rancho San Diego. Reverse 9-1-1 is being used to issue mandatory evacuation orders to Rancho San Diego households. Residents should evacuate to Qualcomm Stadium. Evacuation of Pine Hills and Wynola Road in Julian. Reverse 9-1-1 is being used to issue evacuation orders to residents of Pine Hills Road and Wynola Road in Julian. Residents should evacuate to Borrego Springs High School.

Reverse 911 Used to Evacuate 1,000+ Harmony Grove Homes

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Reverse 9-1-1 is being used to issue evacuation orders to 1,095 Harmony Grove households. In North County residents may still evacuate to Mission Hills Church in San Marcos, 400 Mission Hills Court, where anywhere from 120 to 190 people spent Monday night. The site is being operated with the help of Escondido city recreational staff, and volunteers are needed to help serve meals on Wednesday.

Mandatory Evacuation For La Jolla Reservation Area

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

A mandatory evacuation notice has been issued for people in the La Jolla Reservation area. People should go to Borrego Springs. People SHOULD NOT go to the Palomar Mountain Evacuation Center. This fire, which was spotted across Highway 76 and established on the sotuh face of the Palomar Mountain at the base of Palomar Mountain, is now being referred to as the Poomacho Fire by CalFire. It is currently 20,000+ acres.

Grant: Dangerous Books You Should Read

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Discover the joys (and temptations!) of two new books of collected wisdom: The Yale Book of Quotations edited by Fred Shapiro, and James Geary’s “Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists.” Grant explains why leafing through such books can be rewarding — but hazardous to your time management.

SDG&E Urges Conservation; Power Grid Near Max Capacity

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

SDG&E reports electrical power outages are affecting 24,992 customers in 44 communities. Gas outages are affecting 1,445 customers in five communities. The fire throughout the County are hampering SDG&E's ability to assess the damage. As soon as affected areas are declared safe, repair crews will be mobilized.

Reverse 911 Calls Push to Evacuate Palomar Mountain, Valley Center

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Reverse 9-1-1 calls are being used to issue evacuation orders to more than 900 Palomar Mountain and Valley Center residents. Residents are being advised to take shelter at the Palomar Observatory.

Residents Allowed Back to Parts of Del Mar

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego officials are allowing residents to return to parts of Del Mar and an area south of Poway:

KPBS Forced to Change Frequencies After Transmitter Tower Burns

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

San Diego's public radio station KPBS was forced to change frequencies today after its transmitter tower was lost when Mount San Miguel burned.

California National Guard Deploys 200 Jumpstart Border Troops

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

The California National Guard has deployed 200 of its 610 Operation Jumpstart border troops to help at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Qualcomm Stadium.

Lake Hodges Fire Reaches Del Dios

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

The fire burning along the north shore of Lake Hodges has reached Del Dios, a densely wooded community of small houses and cottages between the lake and Del Dios Highway.

Coast Guard Delivering Tons of Disaster Response Gear

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Crews from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento today delivered thousands of pounds of disaster response gear to help fire victims.

Scripps Ranch Residents NOT Allowed to Return to Homes

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Update 12:15 p.m. 10/23/07: Residents in Scripps Ranch areas south of Dealer Canyon Road, West of sucamore canyon, east of I-15 and north of ICS Miramar MAY return home.

Update: Del Mar and Solana Beach Evacuations

Oct. 23
By KPBS News and KPBS Public Broadcasting

A mandatory evacuation is ordered for the following areas within the City of Del Mar:

Four Miramar Copters Allegedly Grounded, Waiting For Cal Fire Crew

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Congressman Duncan Hunter says there are four Marine helicopters on the ground at MCAS Miramar equipped with buckets that are ready to help fight the San Diego County wildfires but they are waiting on Cal Fire officials who say the choppers cannot fly without a Cal Fire crew member called a spotter on board.

Palomar Pomerado Hospital Evacuates at 8 a.m. This Morning

Oct. 23
By Kenny Goldberg and KPBS Public Broadcasting

A skilled nursing facility and a hospital were right in the path of one of the San Diego County fires. KPBS health reporter Kenny Goldberg says the evacuation of Palomar Pomerado Hospital decided even before an official order to move the patients to safer places.

No Home Left For Poway Family

Oct. 23
By Andrew Phelps and KPBS Public Broadcasting

More than 500,000 people are ordered to flee their homes throughout San Diego County. Shelter space had been at a premium until Qualcomm Stadium opened up for thousands of evacuees Monday. KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps was there. Here's the story of one family from Poway.

Current Highway Closures Update

Oct. 23
By KPBS News and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Caltrans reports these highway closures due to fires:

Gone Baby Gone

Oct. 23
By Beth Accomando and Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) introduces us to the tough neighborhood of Dorchester, an area defined by shattered dreams, broken families, tough luck and even tougher citizens. It's an area Kenzie knows well and that knowledge serves him well as a private detective. But when a young neighborhood girl goes missing, Kenzie and his partner/girlfriend Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) don't want the case. Gennaro insists that however it turns out, it will expose her to something dark and ugly that she doesn't want to face. But after pleas from the child's aunt (Amy Madigan), they reluctantly open an investigation. The case leads them to some dark secrets, family turmoil, police corruption and violence.

No Relief For Firefighters Until Wind Possibly Tapers Wednesday

Oct. 23
By Andrew Phelps and KPBS Public Broadcasting

The National Weather Service says strong ... hot ... dry Santa Ana winds will continue through Wednesday evening. Winds should get a bit weaker this evening before gaining strength again overnight. Those conditions make firefighting very difficult. KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps has details.

Mayor Sanders Gets Call From Bush With Offers to Help

Oct. 23
By Andrew Phelps and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Local officials across San Diego County say firefighters will get all the resources available from the state and federal government. KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps has details.

Most Schools Closed Today

Oct. 23
By Ana Tintocalis and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Virtually all public school districts in San Diego County are closed today. That includes the state's second largest district -- San Diego Unified. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

New fire breaks out in San Diego County

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Officials say a new fire has broken out in San Diego County. California Fire spokesman Captain Don Camp says the blaze broke out in a home on the La Jolla Indian Reservation early this morning. He says the fire seems to have started inside the home independently of any of the wildfires that are ravaging the region.

Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

Oct. 23
By Baccomando and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Update on San Diego County Wildfires (2:30 a.m. Tuesday)

Oct. 23
KPBS Public Broadcasting

Cal Fire is reporting the fires in San Diego County have burned 1,000+ homes, and are threatening at least 5,000 more in San Diego, Poway, Ramona, Escondido, Lakeside, Valley Center, San Marcos, Rancho Santa Fe. The Witch Creek fire has burned 145,000 acres and the second biggest fire -- the Harris fire has scorched 22,000 acres.

Fallbrook Fire Destroys 100 Structures, Causes Evacuation of 45,000 Residents

Oct. 23
By City News Service and KPBS Public Broadcasting

A 1,500-acre wildfire destroyed about 100 structures in Fallbrook, where some 45,000 residents were evacuated today.

Wildfires Take Emotional Toll on San Diego Residents

Oct. 23
By Andrew Phelps and KPBS Public Broadcasting

We spoke with scores of San Diego County residents as they fled their homes yesterday. Many people shared their experiences with wildfire, watching flames leap across the landscape. Here are some of the voices from the first day of the fires.

At Qualcomm Stadium Evacuation Center, Massages and Buffets Lift Spirits

Oct. 23
By Scott Lindlaw and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Like Hurricane Katrina refugees two years earlier in New Orleans, thousands of people rousted by natural disaster fled to the NFL stadium here, waiting out the calamity and worrying about their homes.

Wildfire Fatality Victim Identified

Oct. 23
By City News Service and KPBS Public Broadcasting

Evacuations were taking place in eastern Chula Vista early today, prompted by a wind-driven wildfire that killed one Tecate man and injured 21 others since it began raging in rural southeastern San Diego County.