East County Magazine’s best and worst newsmakers of 2010

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A San Diego publication, East County Magazine, has a list of the “Best and Worst Newsmakers of 2010”. Two items on the list involve wildland fire.

The number one “Naughty Newsmaker” on the list is San Diego Gas and Electric:

1. SDG&E: The utility paid $14 million to settle claims that its lines caused the Rice and Witch Creek fires, then got regulators to approve a rate hike. SDG&E claimed it couldn’t afford to pay hiked up insurance premiums imposed due to the fires that it caused. Yet SDG&E had ample funds to wine and dine influential individuals at its posh resort in Mexico. The utility also ired many with plans to erect Sunrise Powerlink through scenic and high fire risk areas. Adding insult to injury, SDG&E now wants to shut off power in the backcountry to limit its liability the next time a wildfire seems likely to occur. Definitely NOT nice!

The number one “Nice Newsmakers”:

1. San Diego Sheriff’s Deputies Gary Kneeshaw and Scott Blight risked their lives to save two rock climbers trapped on the face of El Capitan mountain during the Monte Fire in Lakeside. With sparks flying into the cockpit, Deputy Kneeshaw helped a hiker into the helicopter, then leaped onto the skid rails, riding unsecured on the outside of the chopper as it descended through blinding smoke. The Board of Supervisors commended the pair for their daring heroism “above and beyond the call of duty” which “without a doubt, saved the lives” of rock climbers André Doria and Meg Rippy.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.