San Diego Witch Fire 2007


Oct 24 2007 AM - Partial Capture of County Burn map

My house is just below the tip of the burn area under the POWAY label

Map a little later, hot spots seem to be contained. Map from City of Poway.


Oct 24 2007 10AM - Capture of Poway City Map

Running Commentary so Far

Sunday 21-Oct-07
Hot Today, winds relatively calm, but we noticed a smoke trail high in the sky coming from the northeast. TV has been warning about this Santa Ana condition since last Thursday. News indicates a fire burning between Ramona and Julian Calling it the 78 fire (or Witch Canyon fire). Hwy 78 closed between Ramona and Julian.

Sunday Eventing
Wind getting very strong here with bad gusts. Announced evacuation of San Diego Country estates. People here are worried since that is the same path of the Cedar Fire almost exactly 4 years ago.

Sunday Night
Just announced evacuation of all of Ramona. Poway HS is evacuation shelter. Smoke is bad here, need a mask to go outside. Neighbors went up to the HS to see if she could help. Stated the smoke is extremely bad up there, and people everywhere. We have sealed up all the doors and windows with tape. Smell is still pretty bad. Wind getting worse. TV stating that they think the fire will only get to the outskirts of Ramona by morning, but I think that it will go further.

Early Monday Morning
Evacuation Center moved from Poway HS to Mira Mesa reason given...hmmm. Now saying the Air Quality was too bad there. This has triggered us to find all our important stuff and pile it by the door.

2AM Monday
News has Wild Animal Park under siege. Wind blew down a power line which caused a transformer explosion. This just added to the Witch fire

4AM Monday
Just finally fell asleep...big wind gust picked up our patio cover and threw it. We ran out to salvage it. Smoke and ash pretty bad. Wind is extremely strong. (the wind was suppose to go down at night, but it has gotten much much stronger). Decided to load up one of the cars, just in case

A Side Note; the wind at this time was amazingly strong. It picked up our 10x10 patio cover that was weighed down with heavy blocks on each corner and threw it against our fence. Also, the fence on the upwind side, that has metal pipe fence posts, actually bent and buckled the fence pipes where they enter the ground. The next morning when I walked the dogs around the neighborhood, several trees were fully uprooted, and fences were down everywhere. [10/2015 - Thinking back, the wind gust sounded like an explosion and woke me from sleep].

5AM ish Monday
Announcing Evacuation of Rancho Bernardo and northeast Poway...houses burning already there.

All neighbors and I are out looking north. Smoke is very very close just over the hill. City worker told us fire at Poway and Espola corner and fire trucks were there fighting it. Could see plums of black smoke, then white steam...looks like they're doing their jobs! Wind is not quite as strong out of NE/ENE. No notifications here of evac. Decided to stay put...we have power, water, etc. and city have been good about notifying people, and wind is still favorable.

RB, Lake Poway burning. HS may be threatened. No word about the South part of the Witch fire which would be directly East of us. Moved all flammable materials from around the house (under the eaves) out into the yard to minimize the fuel for any embers. Ran the sprinklers just enough to keep everything damp. Pulled the computers and put them in the car.

Monday Afternoon
Scripps Ranch area evacuated, we're ready to go if need be.

Sunrise and sunset the winds kick up a lot, scary with fires so close. Glow to the northeast of us. Lots of Poway coverage on the news

Tuesday Sunrise
Winds up a little. Kicking up the smoke north of us again.

Short Movie from my Phone of this (looking North up El Mar Avenue in Poway):

Winds diminished, smoke down. Helicopters dumping water. Neighbor and I decided to hike to top of hill to see what has happened and going on. Fire seems to have burned real close, though most of the houses on other side seem ok. Fire still burning on Mt Woodson and over at lake Poway. Feeling a little better about our safety. However, heard someone at the end of our area has received a reverse 911 due to evacuation of Hwy 78 corridor from Ramona to Lakeside. But they have let the Scripps Ranch people back. They must be taking precautions against an East wind gust, but that also means the fire has burned further south and that's bad for us.

On another note, unless you see the source of the smoke, it is really hard to tell how far away the smoke really is. e.g. Before we hiked up the hill, we thought the smoke was coming from just the other side of the hill, but we found that it was quite a ways away from us when we got to the top and could see the source.

Tuesday Night
Smoke to the north is gone! Mt Woodson looks pretty clear. Actually the air is almost fresh... I'm going to sleep tonight finally

Wednesday Sunrise
Very little smoke, wind calm. SDG&E warning about loss of Power today due to northern fires. Unloaded the car, weather is suppose to hold and winds should be ok. Once the hotspot cleanup is done, will feel better.

Hot spots in Poway being cleaned up. Wind is reversing (west). Much safer here.
SD County fire map as of 2PM (this one actually has the Poway evacuations correct [we were never evacuated]): SD Fire Map (copy from county website)

Wednesday Evening
Drove up Poway road (National Guard had a check station at Poway & Espola when going up Poway Rd). Drove up Espola to Twin Peaks. Fire burned up to the corner of Poway & Espola. The hillside below Poway Rd is burned, and it looks like some fences (but not houses) were burned on the Tooth Rock hillside. So what we were told Monday morning was correct, that the fire was burning just over the hill from us, but the fire crews were stopping it at the Road. That was very close, if the winds would have switched slightly more from the north we would have been in the fire.

Fire moving eastward now. Ramona without water. Letting people back into the evacuation areas. We're not done yet, but, around here, things seem safe.

Morning Map:
Friday Morning SD Map

Friday Afternoon
Slight breeze from the South. But seeing a lot of smoke east of us blowing south to north. The city fire department says they are told it is smoke from the Harris Fire.


Last Modified: 10/2015