Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fire in Potrero Area...

Update (8:10 PM):

I captured the photos at right (click for a larger view) just a few minutes ago from the Lyons Peak cameras. The top photo is looking due south, and shows the fire stretched out over a considerable distance from east to west. My best estimate of the location of the larger fire fronts (on the right side of the photo) is somewhere near Cottonwood Creek Road and Bee Canyon Road, south of 94. Please don't take that as gospel, or even well-informed – it's just my guess, based on the photos, satellite information, and wind.

The bottom photo is looking due north from Lyons Peak, and the fire visible their is the “Witch Fire”, which started at roughly the same time as the Harris Fire, but 25 miles or so north of us, just west of Santa Ysabel (home of Dudley's Bakery). That fire is burning WSW, straight toward Ramona, which is a few miles from the fire front.

Update (3:35 PM):

We know a little more now... The CDF has designated this the “Harris Fire”. The map at right (click for a larger view) shows some MODIS thermal-imaging satellite data (the overlapping red circles toward the bottom) showing the actively burning areas on the satellite's last pass (which I believe was at about 3 PM). The red area in the upper right corner, with an orange tint, is from an old fire put out some time ago. The green area in the upper left is where we live. There is a purple tinted arrow moving down and leftwards that shows the apparent direction of the fire's burning, from its starting point in the eastern end of Hauser Canyon south and south west through Potrero and the north side of Tecate.

The photo at right is the current view south from Lyons Peak; the smoke plume from this fire is quite large and ugly.

We have not heard any specific reports of structures burned, though we have monitored many reports of structures endangered on the scanner. I'm not certain how, when, or if the CDF reports burned structures on the radio, so I don't know what the absence of those reports indicates. I sure hope it's good news for the folks down that way, though...

Update (11:38 AM):

We heard a CDF man on the scanner call for evacuations along Emery Road down to Humphries Road, and in Tecate. These roads are just north of Tecate. The CDF must not believe they can hold the fire at Emery Road, which is not surprising given the high winds...

Original Post (11:15 AM):

As we were driving home from breakfast in Descanso this morning, we saw exactly what we didn't want to see &ndash: a smoke plume, big and growing. We can see from the Lyons Peak cameras that it is ESE of us. Monitoring the scanner, we hear lots of activity out towards Potrero. From the USGS fire planning site, we see two small fires in Hauser Canyon, just north of Potrero. Given the strong (Santa Ana) winds we have right now from the NE, and putting all these other clues together, it sounds like we have a fast-moving fire that started in Hauser Canyon (almost certainly an illegal's campfire) and is moving southwest through Potrero towards Tecate, Mexico.

We'll keep you posted on anything we learn. Any readers in the Potrero/Campo area, if you know more, please let us know...


  1. fire is almost to the 188 now per ca hwy patrol website

  2. So what do you think? Are you going to stay put tonight? The radio just said 14,000 acres for the Harris Fire and that it is entering Deerhorn Valley.

  3. We're staying put, for now -- but keeping a very careful eye on things. The Lyons Peak cameras don't show any fire in Deerhorn Valley -- at least, not in any part visible from the peak. There is an alarming glow coming from what appears to be just behind Mother Grundy peak. We know that area well, and I've no doubt that if the fire has really burned that far north, it will find plenty of fuel. One puzzling thing, though: there's a very strong wind from the NE, and has been for 12 hours or more -- if that fire is moving north, it's moving directly into the teeth of the wind. Not exactly what I'd expect...

  4. is the fire near harris ranch road?