Here come those Santa Ana winds again….


UPDATE: Taken from Jeff Makey’s home in Escondido this evening

Fanned by Santa Ana winds, more than 8,000 acres have burned east of Ramona today in what has been named the Witch Fire. With another fire near Tecate, this situation is eerily similar to 2003′s Cedar Fire.

The attached picture was taken from my front yard in Escondido about an hour ago. It’s not quite this bright to the unaided eye, but with binoculars I can frequently see flames through the smoke.

Our fire season is just not complete without a wildfire in Malibu. Oy.

At least it’s not San Diego this year. Or at least, not yet. But memories of 2003 are probably scaring a lot of San Diegans right now. At least with la Nina, perhaps mud slide season will not be too devastating this year.

Sigh.

UPDATE:

Aw, crap. Now it’s us. Damn it! North of Ramona, so a ways from our place. But it’s windy as heck here, so this is gonna be nasty.

Fire cuts swath through Malibu Hills – Los Angeles Times

A swift-moving wildfire driven by ferocious Santa Ana winds destroyed several landmark structures, including the famed Castle Kashan in the Malibu Hills early today, and forced the evacuation of Pepperdine University and 200 nearby homes.

Four hundred firefighters aided by helicopters and water-dropping aircraft battled the blaze, which had charred roughly 500 acres and led to the closure of Pacific Coast Highway between Kanan-Dume and Topanga Canyon roads.

“We’re looking at an intense wind-driven fire,” said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Ron Haralson.

The scene in Malibu was choatic, with winds howling and kicking up grit and sand. CHP officers were wearing gas masks due to extremely thick smoke.

Georgia King, a Malibu Retreat resident smelled the smoke before 7:30 a.m. and immediately moved into action to evacuate horses from two nearby stables.

“We probably moved 70 horses with all the wonderful people stepping to help,” King said. She said they were taking the horses to various locations, including Malibu Riding & Tennis Club.

King added that the “castle is burning,” referring to Castle Kashan, a well-known local landmark in the hills. The turrets of the building, located on a hillside above the Country Mart, were in flames at 10 a.m.