California: Bernardo Fire near Rancho Santa Fe

Map Bernardo Fire, north of San Diego, 2:52 pm PDT May 13, 2014
Map of heat detected on the Bernardo Fire, north of San Diego near Rancho Santa Fe, at 2:52 p.m. PDT May 13, 2014. The icons can be as much as a mile in error.

(UPDATE at 8:23 a.m. PDT, May 14, 2014)

All evacuations have been lifted for the Bernardo Fire north of San Diego at Rancho Santa Fe. The satellites that passed over the fire early Wednesday morning did not detect any large sources of heat or any additional fire spread.

San Diego Fire-Rescue reports Wednesday morning that 1,548 acres have burned and the fire is 25 percent contained. As of Tuesday night there were no reports of any homes burning, in spite of the fact that the fire burned through and adjacent to dense housing developments.

The weather on Wednesday will be a challenge for firefighters, who should expect 94 degrees, a relative humidity in the single digits, and by 11 a.m. 26 mph winds gusting up to 43 mph. By nightfall the winds will decrease to 10 mph or less and the humidity will rise to 39 percent by 1 a.m. Thursday.

The video report below was aired at 11 p.m. Tuesday night.

San Diego, California News Station – KFMB Channel 8 –

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said about 22,000 phone numbers that had registered with AlertSanDiego were sent evacuation alerts in the first hours after the fire started on Tuesday. It was first reported near Del Norte High School’s playing fields, on Nighthawk Lane and Camino San Bernardino in the city of San Diego, about 10:40 a.m.

The video below is a time-lapse of the fire as photographed from a camera system on Mt. Woodson.



(UPDATE at 7:09 p.m. PDT, May 13, 2014)

The wind has decreased dramatically on the Bernardo Fire north of San Diego at Rancho Santa Fe, giving firefighters and water-dropping helicopters a chance to work closer to the fire edge and slow the spread. The large runs the fire was making Tuesday afternoon have slowed down. The wind speed recorded at the Miramar weather station at 6:55 p.m. PDT was 13 mph hour out of the east-northeast. The relative humidity was still very low at 3 percent and the temperature was 89 degrees. As we reported earlier, the winds should be relatively mild overnight, allowing firefighters to make some headway.

CAL FIRE is reporting that the fire has burned 800 acres and is five percent contained.


(Originally published at 4:07 p.m. PDT, May 13, 2014; Updated at 5:24 p.m.. Check back for updates.)

The Bernardo Fire north of San Diego is burning between Interstates 5 and 15, north of Highway 56. As you can see on the map of the fire above, the fire is on the east side of Rancho Santa Fe near Fairbanks Ranch.

A strong northeast wind is driving the fire, making it difficult for firefighters to protect homes in the Rancho Santa Fe area. At 3:55 p.m. PDT the weather station at Miramar recorded northeast winds at 21 gusting to 28 mph, temperature of 95 degrees, and a relative humidity of 4 percent. The forecast for Tuesday night looks favorable for firefighters, as the wind is expected to decrease to 6 mph out of the north by sundown, but the relative humidity will remain low with a maximum of 26 percent. On Wednesday the winds will pick up again, out of the east at 32 mph with gusts at 40 to 50, along with a high of 94 degrees and single digit humidities.

Bernardo Fire, image from live cam, 459 pm PDT, May 13, 2014
Bernardo Fire, image from live cam at 4:59 p.m. PDT, May 13, 2014

As we reported earlier today, record high temperatures are in the forecast for parts of southern California through Thursday.

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department reports that 5,000 homes have been evacuated.

Bernardo Fire, image from live cam, 521 pm PDT, May 13, 2014
Bernardo Fire, image from Channel 8 live cam at 5:21 p.m. PDT, May 13, 2014

The size is about 700 acres with 5 percent containment, according to CAL FIRE at 4:20 p.m. PDT.

The images below are screen grabs from live TV coverage of the fire on NBC7 and Channel 8 in San Diego, between 3:45 and 4:05 p.m., PDT, May 13, 2014.

Bernardo Fire, image from live cam, 509 pm PDT, May 13, 2014

Bernardo Fire, image from live cam, 349 pm PDT, May 13, 2014 Bernardo Fire, image from live cam, 347 pm PDT, May 13, 2014 Bernardo Fire, image from live cam, 350 pm PDT, May 13, 2014


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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.

2 thoughts on “California: Bernardo Fire near Rancho Santa Fe”

  1. At 1915 PDT KNX radio, Los Angeles, is saying 3,000 homes evacuated with 3 shelters in place.


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