Fire crews from San Diego County respond to the Bernardo fire. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has since declared a state of emergency. Photo by Tony Cagala
Fire crews from San Diego County respond to the Bernardo fire. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has since declared a state of emergency. Photo by Tony Cagala
Lead Story Rancho Santa Fe Lead Story

Mayor declares state of emergency from Bernardo fire

REGION – Mayor Kevin Faulconer declared a local state of emergency on Tuesday night, following a brush fire in the county, which started earlier in the morning.

Faulconer said he declared a local state of emergency which will enable the county to seek federal reimbursement, costs, and other assistance. He also wanted Fire-Rescue Chief Javier Mainer to know that he had everything he needed to move forward into the evening to battle the Bernardo Fire.

The fire, which started at 10:45 a.m. in the area of 4S Ranch, has now blackened 800 acres and is 5 percent contained.  Currently, the fire is moving slower since the wind has decreased.

“All of us are working to ensure we are protecting our San Diego residents and their homes,” Faulconer said.

Also at the press conference was Rancho Santa Fe Fire Chief Tony Michel.  He said he was impressed with the cooperation among the agencies and thanked the first responders “who gave it their all today.”

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman was on hand as well as Sheriff Bill Gore since the Bernardo Fire has affected both the city and county.

“The fire started in the city of San Diego and moved west into the county area of Fairbanks Ranch and parts of Rancho Santa Fe,” Gore said.  “We currently have 70 deputies that are working the evacuation area and bringing in 60 more that will be there through the night.”

The deputies will ensure properties which have been evacuated stay safe, Gore said, and if needed, to help facilitate any further evacuations.

Gore reported that two firefighting helicopters and two smaller ones doing recognizance were utilized throughout the day.  “All we ask you to do is to cooperate with law enforcement,” Gore said. He continued, “If you are asked to evacuate, please evacuate.”

Julie Taber, public information officer of the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, said later that the evacuation order has been lifted. “But we are encouraging residents to be alert and be prepared to evacuate should there be a flare-up or another emergency,” she added.

Taber said that when units initially arrived at the scene they discovered an approximately  2-acre brush fire.

“We called for additional resources right away due to the high and erratic winds,” Taber said.

Due to the winds and dry brush, the fire spread quickly.

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