On October 25, 2003, this state will mark the anniversary of the Cedar Fire.
The official records tell us the fire started in an area of the Cleveland National Forest and that it was reported to the officials at 5:37 p.m. Within ten minutes of the report, the U.S. Forest Service began the process of responding to this fire.
It is at this point the official version of this story now takes a dramatic and tragic turn. A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was ordered to make a water drop on the fire; this helicopter was carrying a Bambi bucket containing a large amount of water. When the copter was just a short distance from the fire, a U.S. Forest Service fire chief called the drop off, due to a fire fighting policy calling for aerial fire fighting efforts to be suspended 30 minutes before sunset.
By midnight that same day, the fire had consumed a reported 5,319 acres. By 03:00 a.m. the next day, 62,000 acres had been destroyed resulting also in the deaths of 12 people living in Wildcat Canyon and Eucalyptus Hills which are communities close to Lakeside, California.
In addition to the above described loss, the fire totally destroyed the little community of Harrison Park. Prior to the fire entering the confines of Harrison Park, 157 homes dotted this little community providing rest, privacy and relaxation to its residents. Decades before the fire, Harrison Park actually was a trailer park offering residents of San Diego, and other Southern California communities a place to go and relax and enjoy the gifts of God’s nature. After the fire moved through Harrison Park, only 4 homes were left standing.
I became personally involved in the resulting calamity of this fire, due to the fact the insurance company I adjusted claims for insured several homes in Harrison Park, and I have never, from the first time I first entered the burned out remains of that community to this day, ever seen such destruction.
I have been told many times that the fire fighting agencies involved in fighting this front of the Cedar Fire was advised to write off Harrison Park, and defend the town of Julian, which is located just a few miles North. Well, I cannot accept that, because the next day on October 29, 2003, a brave, young fire fighter, 38 year old Steven Rucker, laid down his life in trying to save the home of a family that had already been evacuated.
I wish to dedicate this article to the families in Harrison Park who lost their homes and to those who lost their lives in the fire. Many unanswered questions still exist as to why the devastation of the Cedar fire was so great. But one thing is certain, you did not receive the help you needed from above.
For those of you who are truly interested I direct your attention to the following link which contains a video showing the inferno who destroyed Harrison Park. You will need to access Vimeo to view the video. This video also shows something else, by not showing it, the lack of any type of fire fighting support. The Link is C:UsersNormanDocuments4-MtLaguna.