Lakeside brush fire threatens homes

“Yeah, I was pretty scared because we’ve only been here six months and the flames were getting closer down the hill,” said Lakeside resident Dana.

Thursday and Wednesday, local fire officials have emphasized the extra crews and equipment they have on hand, as well as their positioning during these dangerous conditions. Residents of some two dozen homes off Lake Jennings Road near El Monte Road in Lakeside are grateful.

“I was very impressed with how fast they hit (the fire),” said Bill Lyon, another Lakeside resident.

Shortly before 7am, as the winds blew and gusted (just as they did the day before), residents heard a loud boom; suddenly, the power was out and, just as suddenly, flames were coming over the adjacent hill.

“My wife told me there’s a fire, I said ‘where?’ She said ‘It’s on the hill.’ And so I said ‘Ok, let’s get rolling!’ She took our son over to the mother-in-law on the other side of Lakeside.”

Lakeside firefighters were quickly on the scene, followed by Santee and San Miguel fire crews and Cal Fire. A spotter plane out of Ramona got over the scene, but a standby tanker wascanceledd because the crews on the ground were able to get containment in about 30 minutes – keeping the blaze to 4 acres. Still, several residents living on Laurel Canyon Road and Vista Laurel Place evacuated as a precaution, because there’s only one way out to Lake Jennings Park Road. Meanwhile, some 9,500 Lakeside residents – along with a number of businesses – were without power.

“My son said he heard an explosion,” explained Dana.

What was it? SDG&E says there was an issue at a nearby power station, but that it was not a transformer explosion. There was also a report that two power lines collided with each other in the gusty winds. All SDG&E would say as the fire was being put out was that the utility was investigating. The hand and hose crews were there for some time, while the wind was still howling and blowing embers. For example, suddenly firefighters were in a yard since an ember had sparked after landing in some bark.

Categories: KUSI