2003 San Diego Fires

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Interesting how in some cases the fire went right around things without touching them. Size 210kb This valley was burned all the way up and down. Size 138kb
The fire curved around this development, scorching all the hills but leaving the houses alone. Size 163kb The golf course near Barona Casino... the fairways stayed, and the roughs burned up. Size 179kb
Susan, our excellent in-air photographer, caught this shot that very clearly shows how close the fire came. Size 143kb This shot shows the "house on the hill", with our place to the west-northwest (look for the solar panels on the roof and the red truck out front.) Size 254kb
Just around the corner on Wikiup, you can see how the fire burned down the open space and for the most part didn't make its way into people's yards... and yet, on the other side of the street, someone lost their garage. Size 138kb This shot shows how close the fire was to our house on three sides. The metal framed-house with the really good view at the top of the hill burned... kind of like being in a reverse funnel. Our nearby "greenbelt" hiking trail looks like a scene from the moon. The fire pretty much moved through the neighborhood by running down the trails and greenbelts, occasionally hopping over to eat a house here or there. Size 140kb
Santa Isabel got lucky... they stopped it just meters away from the town. Size 170kb With the winds pushing the flames towards the town so hard, Julian was lucky to preserve their downtown. Many of the residences in the outlying did not escape. Size 140kb
Harbison canyon, one of the harder hit areas. Size 195kb Fire roads that did basically no good in Santa Ana wind conditions. Size 142kb
Hopscotching across the plains, sometimes stopping when it came to the road and other times hopping right across... Size 191kb El Capitan reservoir near sunset. The fires burned right up to the water's edge on all sides. Size 106kb
The end of Ramona Oaks road, where the fire first reached the Estates from the Cleveland National Forest. Size 159kb A beautiful ridge, now barren of trees and chapparal. Size 130kb
These people obviously cleared the brush for quite a distance around their homes, but apparently it didn't help in most cases. Size 183kb It's sometimes hard to tell when looking sideways just how burned everything is, but when you look down it's quite obvious. Everywhere you don't see green in this photo is totally burned. Size 133kb
Very difficult terrain for firefighting, and with the winds they weren't able to use aircraft in the first few days. Size 141kb This is the equestrian center at the northeast end of the Estates. To the left of the track you can see that the upper stables are still standing but the lower stables burned. As far as we know, all the animals were evacuated in time. Size 200kb
A beautiful San Diego sunset, looking at downtown San Diego from over El Cajon. Size 88kb Another interesting example of the fire burning completely around something, but leaving this grove of trees standing. Size 138kb
Aerial view of the Viejas Casino and Outlet Malls, including their (very early) Christmas tree in the lower-left courtyard. Notice the two different styles of HVAC systems used on the north vs. south buildings. Size 199kb And... any landing you walk away from is a good landing, but this one was particularly nice. Landed about 15 feet from the threshold and had to add power just to make it to the first turnoff. Sweet. Size 106kb