Quick response saves 3 homes threatened by fire

Fire Safety

By the Deer Springs Fire Safe Council

A fire broke out on the west side of Interstate 15 near Nutmeg Street last month threatening three homes before firefighters reined it in.

The fire, which started about 12:20 p.m. on May 19, was caused by a spark from a Cal Trans mower that was cutting dry grass on the side of the freeway.

CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Nick Brown said the crew operating the mower had taken the necessary precautions to prevent such a fire, but the fire grew rapidly and headed uphill toward houses.

“When Cal Trans does brush maintenance they have to have 500 gallons of water with a 50-foot section of hose and communications,” said Brown, who also serves as the Deer Springs fire chief. “They had all of those the day of the fire, and when it started they tried putting it out.

“This goes to show that the grasses are so volatile that a fire can spread very quickly,” he said. CAL FIRE firefighters from Deer Springs Fire Station 12 on Mesa Rock Road were the first to arrive at the fire. They immediately requested air support, said Capt. Anthony Watters, the crew leader, to protect the threatened houses.

Helicopters and air tankers quickly arrived to douse the fire with water and drop retardant on the brush to slow the flames. Ground crews from CAL FIRE and Escondido battled the fire, which was contained to three acres. No homes were damaged.

The fire was extinguished by the evening.

See pages 4 and 5 to read more articles from the Deer Springs Fire Safety Council.