Fire Crews Continue to Battle Julian Wildfire
Fire crews continue to battle a wildfire northeast of Julian. The Angel Fire caused about 400 people to leave their homes in the nearby subdivision of Whispering Pines. The fire burned within feet of
(Photo: Fire crews battle a wildfire northeast of Julian. Ed Joyce/KPBS )
he Angel Fire caused about 400 people to leave their homes in the nearby subdivision of Whispering Pines. The fire burned within feet of several homes. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce talked to some of those homeowners who feared their homes might be lost.
The Whispering Pines subdivision on Banner Grade was mostly spared from the fire. But walking around several hillside homes all you see is burnt trees and blackened earth. Hamilton Thom's home is perched on a ridge in the subdivision. He says this time, the fire was a bit too close.
<b> Thom </b> : Ah yeah, way too close for comfort. This is the closest call we've had with a fire this big. I've been up here since '72.
Thom headed into Julian until the blaze near his house was put out by fire crews. Bruce Knowles lives in the same ridge top area. He credits fire agencies and clearing of brush - defensible space - for saving his home.
<b> Knowles: </b> I mean after we did all the prep, the BLM's done their thing, the CDF's done their thing, we did all we could do, wow, look at that, and then we just left, grab the computer, grab the cat, grabbed some mementos and just left.
One of Knowles' neighbors was not so lucky. A vacation home farther down the canyon didn't survive the fire. Cal Fire's Julie Hutchinson says with historic dry conditions there's a potential for more fires. She says that's why clearing dry brush around homes is so critical.
<b> Hutchinson: </b> One significant thing is it's year round fire season in Southern California, we've got to get everybody to pay attention to that. Citizens need to understand that fire season starts on the first of January and goes to December 31st. Don't let your guard down, maintain your defensible space, have an evacuation plan, know what you're going to do in the event of an emergency and be prepared.
Officials say it will take at least a couple more days to get the fire contained. Cal Fire's Matt Streck says a little help from the weather will make the difference.
<b> Streck: </b> We have enough resources to do what we need to do right now it's just a matter of Mother Nature cooperating.
Investigators say the cause of the Angel Fire is an illegal campfire.
Ed Joyce, KPBS News.