San Diego Spotlight
Local Fires
San Diego Spotlight

NBC Dateline: “Escape the Great California Fire”

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cedar fire coming over the hills

Photo courtesy of Kevin Pack, K.E. Pack Photography & Cal-Fire.

The NBC Dateline “Escape The Great California Fire” focused the nation’s attention on fire safety and preparedness, as well as recognizing how San Diego responded to the Cedar Fire, stayed vibrant and rebuilt itself.

How Bad was the Cedar Fire?
October 25, 2003, Cedar Creek Falls, a lost hunter set a signal flare.

  • Largest fire in California’s history – burned 280,278 acres.
  • Second deadliest fire with the loss of 15 lives including 1 firefighter
  • 2,873 homes and other structures damaged or destroyed
  • 113 injuries
  • At one point, the fire spread 40,000 acres in one hour
  • Estimated fire suppression cost: >$40 million
  • Remember the power of fire. Nature provided San Diego County with steep, rough terrain; a semi-arid climate with little rain and lots of brush which is highly flammable. Combine this with our high Santa Ana winds, and we live in a very high fire danger area. Though San Diego County went 33 years with no major wildfires, from the Laguna Fire of 1970 to the Cedar Fire of 2003, it was only four years later that we had the wildfires of 2007.
  • Often these major fires do not occur one at a time. During the Cedar Fire, we also had the Paradise Fire and the Mine Fire. In 2007, we had the Witch Creek Fire, Harris Fire, Rice Fire and Poomacha Fire all burning simultaneously.

Cedar Fire Historical Monument
The community of Lakeside, which is near the Wild Cat Canyon area where so many people perished or lost their homes, has decided to construct a Cedar Fire Historical Monument on a small vacant area of the Lakeside Fire Protection District’s River Park Fire Station to honor those individuals whose lives were lost in the Cedar Fire. It is a monument for the community to not only remember what happened during this devastating fire but to build education and awareness for the next time wildfire threatens our community.

Cedar Fire Monument“The Cedar Fire Monument won’t only be a place to remember what and who were taken from us that day. It’s planned to be a place where the story of wildland fire is shared with our youth and newcomers to Lakeside. Where we recall in our history past fires, recent fires, and a place where future fires can be considered and prepared for. It’s a space that all of us that were touched by the fire can share our experiences, our sorrows and our proud rebirth as a community,” said Lakeside District Fire Chief Andy Parr.
Please make a donation to help build this monument to honor those lost in the Cedar Fire.

Please make a donation to help build this monument to honor those lost in the Cedar Fire. 

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