Monday, July 27, 2015

Cutca Fire (near Mt. Palomar, Cleveland NF, CA)

The Cutca fire that is burning in the Cleveland National Forest near Mt. Palomar was first reported on July 24, 2015 and has burned 167 acres and is at 50 percent contained as I write this. The Palomar Observatory sits on top of Mt. Palomar and is not threatened by the fire. Tankers and helicopters have worked the fire in support of the wildland firefighters on the ground. A TFR is in place over the fire, meaning that aircraft not engaged in firefighting activities as well as unmanned aircraft systems are banned from overflying the wildfire.

Hearing about this fire bought me back to a half day a friend and I spent in the Cleveland National Forest three years ago. I drove from the northern San Diego suburbs to Ramona where I visited the Ramona Air Attack Base. After lunch near the base, my friend and I headed to the Palomar Observatory driving through some beautiful country. I don’t quite recall where we entered the Cleveland National Forest, but I do remember driving through the Cleveland National Forest as we drove up the mountain to the observatory. Now the mind can play tricks, but I am fairly certain that we drove by a fire station on our way up the mountain to the observatory. I remember commenting to my friend that I was glad to see the fire station in the forest and reasonably close to the observatory. 

I don’t go to California all that often and my visit to the Cleveland National Forest was the first and so far only time that I had been in or near an area in southern California that has seen wildfires. I hope that the Cutca fire stays small and is contained soon. I am glad to read that there are no evacuations and that the Palomar Observatory is not threatened. 

I write this to thank all wildland firefighters who are working the Cutca fire for all you are doing to keep everyone safe, nearby residents and businesses as well as the Palomar Observatory. 

The Cutca fire fire is but one of many, many wildfires burning in the United States and elsewhere. For all of you who are working these fire, whether on the ground or in the air, stay safe. Thanks for all you do.

For more information on the Cutca fire:

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