Main Fires in San Diego: Disasters Householders Confronted

San Diego has encountered many fires. However, some of them were considered to be much more disastrous than others. This article describes these major fire events in the history of San Diego. Note that these events are spread across history, and some may date back to the early 1990s. Again, this list is in no particular order.

Listed below are the major fire incidents in San Diego history.

1. Witch Creek and Guejito Fires (2007)

On October 21, 2007, a strong wind blew through the power lines, starting a fire that was relatively small on the east side of Romana, the area known as Witch Creek. The next day (October 22nd) at 2:00 am, a fire began around the San Pasqual Valley. The Witch Creek Fire moved towards the city limits and soon, not long after, the two fires merged.

Approximately 197,990 acres in the county while 9,250 acres were burned in the city. Around 365 houses were burned down in the city. All the houses were in Rancho Bernardo. 1141 houses were destroyed across the country and two people died. The fires are the largest evacuation the county has ever seen. About 500,000 citizens were evacuated. 7 trucks, 420 people, and 73 engines were used as the fire grew.

The fires are among the 21 largest forest fires in Southern California. Another incident called the Harris Fire began on the day of the Witch Creek Fire. However, this did not get into the city. Click here: to learn more about the Harris Fire. It is said to have resulted in five deaths and burned 90,440 acres.

2. The great standard oil fire (1913)

On October 5, 1913, a passing locomotive had a spark that caused 250,000 gallons of distilled oil to flare up in flames. The oil burned and threw sparks in the sky and then fell on the surrounding tanks. One tank had black oil in whooping cough quantity 1,500,000 gallons; this also broke out. The only way the firefighters could keep the tanks cool was by spraying water; They fought to stop a black oil explosion. Unfortunately, a tank of 250,000 gallons of gasoline exploded so loudly that people in La Mesa heard it. The spectators were rescued by boats. The firefighters were eventually released after fighting the fires Sunday through Tuesday.

Major San Diego Fires - Standard Oil Fire

3. Normal Heights Fire (1985)

On June 30, 1985, a strong wind caused a flame that soon went up a series of Mission Valley canyons. 300 acres and 76 homes were destroyed by the normal altitude fire. 57 other houses were damaged. The total damage was estimated at $ 9 million. The number of people evacuated ranged from 1,000 to 1,500. You can visit the San Diego Dry Express to learn more about fire fighting. Heavy brushes propelled the flames around houses and in the canyons. 98 rigs and 400 firefighters were used to fight the inferno. The firefighters came from almost all rural and urban fire areas in the region, and the federal firefighters also came from the Miramar Naval and North Island air force stations.

The first warning came at 11:52 am; However, the flames were already out of control before the first unit arrived at 1:00 p.m. The inferno was eventually extinguished despite the problems encountered with the hydrants. This event resulted in the establishment of various initiatives such as the brush and weed control program and plans to improve the city's water pressure.

4. Cedar Fire (2003)

This is the largest wildland inferno in all of California's history. It started in the Cleveland National Forest. It started as a small fire lit by a lost hunter as a token of help. Unfortunately, the flames got out of hand and soon covered about 20 acres. By midnight of the same day (October 25), the flames had covered 5,500 acres and 62,000 acres were covered by 3:00 a.m. At 6: 3 a.m. on October 26, the inferno had arrived in San Diego. 50 engines, 9 trucks and 11 oil rigs were used to fight the inferno.

Major San Diego Fires - Cedar Fire

Tierrasanta and Scripps Ranch were hardest hit. On the 28th it was declared that the flames were contained. At that point, 28,676 acres in the city had been burned and 71 buildings were damaged while 335 were destroyed. In addition, 15 people were killed. The total loss was estimated at $ 204 million.

5. American-Hawaiian Company Freighter Fire (1910)

It can be said that this inferno is the most persistent that San Diego has ever seen. On June 17, 1910, the freighter S.S. Alaskan on the Santa Fe Quay Fire. The tarpaulin on hatch # 4 was removed from the dock workers, but they were greeted by hot gas and smoke. At this point the firefighters were informed by the skipper that they had calcium carbide on the ship. So using water to fight the flames would create deadly acetylene gas. Read this article to learn more about the calcium carbide reaction on water. Because of this, the firefighters only had to use hand extinguishers and chemical tanks to fight the inferno.

On the third day, the fire department ran out of sulfuric acid and bicarbonate soda, so a truckload was dispatched from Los Angeles. Eventually the inferno was extinguished when liquid carbonic acid was pumped through holes in the ship's plate. It took a total of 3 weeks to extinguish the flames, and history was made when an inferno was first extinguished with carbon dioxide gas.


Fires are not pleasant events and can cause a lot of damage. San Diego has seen many of these bad events. However, some of these events did more damage than others. This article contains a list of the major San Diego fires.

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