Thursday, October 25, 2007

Inciweb: Witch Wildland Fire - 197,990 acres - 30 percent

Witch Wildland Fire



This fire has burned 197,990 acres and is 30 percent contained. Mandatory evacuations are in place for the community of Julian and there is still a threat to Pine Hills, Cuyamaca, Wynola, Santa Ysabel, Alpine, and Harbison Canyon. Fire progression has slowed to the west, southwest, and northwest. Residents are being allowed to return to portions of Poway, Escondido, Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego and Rancho Bernardo. Wildcat Canyon is closed. Highway 67 is closed from Poway to Ramona.

1,061 homes, 30 commercial properties, and 175 outbuildings have been destroyed. 62 homes, 10 commercial properties and 50 outbuildings have been damaged. 1,000 residences, 100 commercial properties, and 300 outbuildings are still threatened.

2,883 firefighters are assigned to this incident under unified command. 22 firefighters have been injured on this fire. The estimated cost of this fire to date is $7 million. Witch Fire Information Line (619) 590-3160.

Cal Fire Web Site

Basic Information

Incident Type Wildland Fire
Cause Under Investigation
Date of Origin 10/21/2007 at 1235 hrs.
Location Witch Creek area, East of Ramona
Incident Commander Pat Kerschen

Current Situation

Total Personnel 2,883
Size 197,990 acres
Percent Contained 30%
Estimated Containment Date 10/31/2007 at hrs.
Fuels Involved

Timber (grass and understory)

Fuel model 2, 4, & 5. Oak woodlands and brush are also involved.

Fire Behavior

Continuing to see perimeter growth on the northeastern and eastern side of the fire. Fire is burning in mature heavy brush and four year old brush from the 2003 fire siege.

Significant Events

Progress on containment has been favorable in Branch II, IV, V (west side). Conditions have improved in these areas to allow return of residents into Poway, Escondido, Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego and Rancho Bernardo. SDG&E is beginning to re-establish utility service to some affected areas. President Bush, Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Feinstein surveyed fire area and visited base camp this morning. Damage assessments report 239 destroyed vehicles.


Planned Actions

Continue to protect life, property, and the environment. Securing perimeter is a high priority.

Projected Movement

Fire will continue to move east threatening the communities of Julian and Pine Hills. Fire has potential to move north and join the Poomacha Fire. Fire spread to west and southwest is still a potential.

Growth Potential


Terrain Difficulty


Containment Target

Containment efforts are showing positive results. Requested resources have arrived and changes in weather pattern will both help achieve management strategy.


CAL FIRE Team #10 is in Unified Command of the incident. Base Camp is established at Kit Carson Park (Kit Carson & Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido). Changes in weather and on scene resources are making good progress with fire suppression efforts. ICT has reconciled outstanding orders killing most that were unfilled to assist the resource needs of the other major fires. Damage assessment is underway.


Current Wind Conditions 5-9 mph W
Current Temperature 87 degrees
Current Humidity 12 %

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.

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