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Fire & Rain Again
Message from the Executive Director
By Bruce Coons
Happy Holidays. This year we have many blessings to be thankful for and although many have lost their homes, most still have their lives and their loved ones and that is truly something to be thankful for. I hope that you and yours were spared from any devastation of the fires. It has been a grim reminder of the fire ecology we live in but an important reminder of the necessity of proper management.
At this time County Park and Rec officials are still surveying the losses to their historic sites. We have been traveling the backcountry this week to assess damage to private property as well. There are many important out of the way sites. We are happy to report that the historic structures in Descanso are safe with the exception of one of the 1920's granite bungalows along Viejas Blvd. The Headquarters of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, the historic stone Dyar house was gutted, though some of its important collection of Indian artifacts may be salvageable. Wayne Donaldson believes the house can be rebuilt. As you know, the Town of Julian was spared, as was the Spencer Schoolhouse at Wynola. Many structures were lost in Pine Hills, but the historic lodge and its outbuildings survived even though it was surrounded by devastation. The Store and Mission at Santa Ysabel are safe, as is the Sawday House at Witch Creek, though the fire came within 100 feet. The fire does not appear to have reached the Winter Ranch or the Adobe Chapel at Mesa Grande. At Ballena, the Littlepage house was completely surrounded by fire, but the house escaped, it is surrounded by bareness. The Warnock Adobe at Santa Teresa was spared and the Barnett Adobe also was saved at San Vicente after fire surrounded it. On Mussey Grade in the middle of the devastation of one of what was the most beautiful scenic roads in San Diego, the 1870's Drake House survives. This house combined with the Littlepage House and Barnett Adobe are remarkable sites to see. I have been told there was no special effort to save these Historic Sites, but they seem to have had a guardian angel looking over them, as all around there is nothing left. The Montecito Adobe stayed out of harm's way, as did the historic buildings in Ramona. We still need to visit the Pines fire area and Rancho Guejito, Rancho Pauma and also the Scripps Hunting lodge at Otay lakes and the Barona area, as we have no reports on them as of yet.
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