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San Diego County Wildfires

by Scott Burton

Posted on October 25, 2007 at 7:19 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:39 PM

Getting your mind around how larges these fires are is pretty hard. Understanding how many lives, how many families, how many communities are affected is even harder. Flying down from Portland on Wednesday we saw our first sign of smoke just south of Yosemite Naitonal Park. By the time we hit the Los Angeles area it was clear that this firestorm was unlike any other in the past.


Off the coast of Los Angeles we looked down towards Catalina Island. Normally a picturesque tourist destination clearly visible from the air, Wednesday it was barely visible. The smoke was so thick you could hardly make out the island at all and you sure couldn't see the ocean.

As we moved south and began our approach into downtown San Diego, the smoke remained just as thick. I went to college here at the University of San Diego. I love flying into this city. I couldn't see a bit of it as we landed. The famed Cornonado bridge didn't seem to exist. I could barely even see the downtown skyline.

Once on the ground we headed north to the La Jolla Indian Reservation where the Witch fire was about to merge with the Pamoocha fire. As night fell, the wind picked up and the flames shot into the night sky. I had never seen a fire pick up so quickly.

pamoocha 1.jpg

This morning (Thursday) began with liveshots from the town of Ramona. Here a water boil order is still in place, power is out in parts of the area, and many are still under evacuation orders.

We're working out of a satellite truck supplied by KTVK-TV of Phoenix. They have been down here since Monday. They started in Malibu and have been chasing these fires ever since.


We're about to head to Rancho Bernardo. It's one of the hardest hit communities here in San Diego County. Home owners are just beginning to return to their neighborhoods. I can only begin to imagine the emotions that must be running through their minds as the sun begins to rise.