Thank God For The Fire Department!

fire in a san diego canyonLast night I had cause to call 911. Someone had started a campfire in the canyon I live on near 47th and Thorn in San Diego. I could see it clearly from my deck.

I discovered the fire because around 9 p.m. I was drawn to the deck by yelling, cursing and the loud sound I associate with teenage boys drinking. I looked over and there they were, maybe half a dozen, circled around a fire that was flaming fairly high and sending sparks up into what I know to be fire-prone eucalyptus trees.


Even though I was fairly certain their purpose was benign, I knew the results could be disastrous. Even though we are not at our driest season, San Diego canyons are always vulnerable to fire – always.

I called 911.

Because I walk the canyon I was able to tell the dispatcher how best to get to the area and I walked down to meet them – well, almost ran because the San Diego Fire Department got there in a hurry. It wasn’t long before they had everything under control.

Except… I looked over the balcony again to watch them haul their equipment back and was shocked to see a second, much smaller fire across the dry creek bed. I knew the fire men (yes, it was all men last night I’m almost sure) were unlikely to be able to see it even though they were much closer than I was; I had the advantage of height.

This time I did run back to their truck. Gasping I told one fellow I was almost sure I was seeing another blaze.

You’ve got to love these guys. Although he was skeptical and said he thought I was probably seeing a reflection, he came back to my house so I could show him what I was seeing.

Sure enough, he was down the stairs and on his radio headed for a much smaller, but none-the-less very real fire almost before I pointed it out. Several others dragged the hose back down the hill. When that was out they did some exploring up and down the canyon to make sure nothing else was on fire.

I am so very grateful.

I’m also thinking that some education around the canyon neighborhood is in order. A close friend of mine works with CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) here. There she knows are some of the folks who also volunteer to keep our canyons safe and she will get the necessary contact information to me.

As my friend tells it, there is not only an opportunity for education in this experience, but for some real community building.

Community building started last night. I talked with several neighbors I hadn’t met before. I’m looking forward to more – not fire, but community.

Have you ever had to call 911? What happened?

Anne Wayman

Image from

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Carol July 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Whhheeewwww!!! Good for you!!!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: