Residents on Sloane Canyon Road in Jamul spent several tense hours on Friday, August 28, waiting as fire crews worked feverishly to extinguish a brush fire burning at the rural dirt road’s only entrance and exit. The blaze began at approximately 2:40 p.m. at the intersection of Lawson Valley Road and Sloane Canyon Road.
According to a resident, a woman in a white Ford F350 truck swerved to avoid an oncoming car, hit a telephone pole, and careened into a chain-link fence before crashing into the nearby 15-foot deep ravine and creek bed. Downed power lines from the telephone pole are believed to have sparked the fire.
“The whole telephone pole was whacked in half,” said resident Michael Towne, adding that loose power lines were lying in the street for about one-eighth of a mile. “A car driving behind the lady nearly missed getting hit by the lines.”
Cal Fire crews responded immediately. Once SDG&E shut the power off, helicopters and air tankers were able to make numerous water drops.
There were at least four helicopters,” said Towne, “and two or three spotter planes in addition to the fire engines, and I would say a good eight additional engines lined up at Skyline Truck Trail.”
By approximately 6:00 p.m., the fire was extinguished. Cal Fire stayed on site to put out hot spots and monitor the situation. Nearly an acre of brush was scorched, primarily in the dried creek bed of Lawson Creek. No structures were damaged.
“We were just lucky that the vegetation was still lush and green enough that the fire didn’t spread more quickly,” said Towne. As a result of the downed lines and fire, the ten families who live off of the narrow dirt road were left without power for approximately 12 hours. According to Towne, the driver of the F350 escaped the accident without a scratch. “She is seriously lucky to be alive,” he said.