Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Harris Fire in Rancho San Diego (Mt. San Miguel) - 5 miles from our home

Mt. San Miguel (Harris Fire) from Rancho San DiegoMt. San Miguel on fire (Harris Fire), photo taken from intersection of Steele Canyon Road and Highway 94 at 8:40 PM, Tuesday, 10/23/07

(Photo Credit: David Benedict, from reader photo submissions)

It seems we're in the clear now.

But things were looking a little sketchy last night. The fire that in my previous post I described as outlining Mt. San Miguel, burning up the mountain on the south side, had turned the corner and was making its way down the north face toward Rancho San Diego and our home. In fact, the above photo was taken just 5 miles south of our home. Just down the way from where this photo was taken is Steele Canyon High School, an evacuation center for much of the area to the east. Yet even with these flames burning just a half mile - literally, across the street! - from the school, the fire authorities had them stay put because they were convinced they could keep the fire from crossing Highway 94. Around 10 PM they launched flares into the hillside, lighting backfires to help burn out the fire before it could encroach on any buildings. We, having had very little sleep all week, went to bed and prayed that our phones wouldn't ring in the middle of the night telling us to evacuate (it's called a "reverse 911" call). No phones rang.

At 4 AM, when I got up to use the bathroom, I checked the local TV news only to find they were showing some random stuff - no news, where previously they had been broadcasting fire coverage around the clock. No news must be good news. Come 5 AM, when the kids all woke up, I checked the news again. They were once again broadcasting, but no word on Steele Canyon or Rancho San Diego. Again, no news must be good news.

Later today I called the fire information line and asked about Steele Canyon and the backfires. They said they were successful and that the only fires still burning from the Harris Fire were in east Jamul and the Lyons Peak area to the east of us.

So it looks like Rancho San Diego and El Cajon were completely spared of any devastation. And, thankfully, this will likely be the last post on the Harris Fire I'll need to make.

God bless us, everyone!

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