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San Diego Looks Back To The Devastating 2007 Wildfires

Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press
Home owner Tony Heinrichs looks down at his recovered tool boxes found inside his destroyed home in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego, Calif. Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, after the Witch fire destroyed it earlier in the week.

This month in Northern California, firefighters battled a series of deadly wildfires that scorched tens of thousands of acres, burned thousands of buildings to the ground and left at least 42 people dead with hundreds more unaccounted for.

Here in San Diego, people are all too familiar with the dangers of wildfires and the destruction they can wreak on a community. This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the 2007 wildfires.

Special Coverage: Living with Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Year Later


The 2007 wildfires began in the early morning hours of Oct. 21, 2007 near the U.S.-Mexico border with the Harris fire. At the peak of the firestorm, there were seven separate fires burning in the county. In the end, the fires left 10 people dead, 23 civilians injured and 89 firefighters injured.

More than 6,000 firefighters fought to control the blaze. It is estimated that the fires burned about 13 percent of the county's total landmass, or 369,000 acres, destroying 1,600 homes and hundreds of other structures at a cost of $1.5 billion in damage. In addition, over a half-million people were evacuated during the fires.

KPBS asked several locals to share their experiences during the 2007 wildfires.

Below is a map that shows the different fires that tore through the county 10 years ago. Click the blue points to watch videos of people’s experiences.