May 14, 2014 – What started as a small fire at the corner of Nighthawk Lane and Camino San Barnardino quickly erupted into a blaze that has consumed over 1,600 acres of land. As of Wednesday morning, officials estimate roughly 25% of the Bernardo Fire has been contained. More than 5,000 homes and businesses around the Rancho Penasquitos and Rancho Santa Fe areas were evacuated, with over 15,000 more evacuation orders issued. Displaced residents who couldn’t afford a hotel were admitted to Rancho Bernardo High School.
Over 250 miles away, a second brush fire in Santa Barbara County raged over 700 acres. 1,200 homes and businesses were evacuated until the blaze was contained. Downed power lines and heavy brush made for difficult conditions for emergency workers who continued laboring through the night.
Their results paid off, however, as the majority of evacuation orders were lifted Tuesday night.
“We believe we have a pretty good handle on it,” San Diego Fire Chief Javier Mainar said. “We hope to do some more work through the night and into tomorrow, but I think the largest part of the emergency has passed.”
Mainar went on to say “Incredibly wind driven fire like this and we have no structure loss that I’m aware of. We certainly have no loss of life that I’m aware of or injuries that I’m aware of. It really is a successful day when you can walk away from something like that in a Santa Ana condition.”
Cal Fire has not yet released a cause of the Bernardo Fire, which remains under investigation. Bordered by Via de la Valle to the east, Dove Canyon Road to the west, Carmel Valley Road to the north, and Camino De Sur to the south, the Barnardo Fire has calmed significantly – but fire crews are keeping a close eye as San Diego heads into another scorching day.
San Diego is no stranger to brush fires. In October 2007, power lines ignited three fires which destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of land, caused the deaths of two residents, and injured 45 emergency workers. Fire investigators determined that the Witch Creek Fire, the Guejito Fire, and the Rice Canyon Fire were all caused due to equipment maintenance violations committed by San Diego Gas & Electric and Cox Communications. Thompson and Wedeking successfully represented families who suffered loss during those fires. Legal rights during states of emergency can be complex to understand, so always consult an attorney if you have a question.