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Most often, humans are responsible for igniting wildfires. Our cars, our power lines and our cigarettes all have caused them.
And now add our backhoes to the list.
Investigators determined Friday that the Bernardo Fire, the one that kicked off our wild week and forced evacuations in the northern part of the city of San Diego, was ignited by a backhoe doing excavation work. Actually the top known cause of fires in 2012, for example, was equipment use.
The other major fires are still under investigation.
More on this week’s blazes:
• We had County Supervisor Ron Roberts on the podcast this week. Roberts explained how things had changed since the 2003 and 2007 fires. And he lamented what might have been had Proposition A, in 2008 passed. The $50 parcel tax increase would have funded fire protection efforts around the county.
With anemic support from leaders across the county, the proposition surprised many and nearly passed. It got more than 63 percent of the vote but needed 66.7 percent.
• The L.A. Times reviewed how much has changed since those earlier fires. KPBS did something similar.
• Sam Hodgson has a great collection of photos from the week of fire. NBC 7 San Diego reports that 20 buildings were lost in the Cocos fire in San Marcos.
• Randy Dotinga did a Q-and-A with a fire investigator who explained what it takes to figure out how these things happen. “You start the wildfire investigation the same way you’d do it for any fire: You go from the least burned area to the most burned area.”
• Matthew Hall at the U-T did a roundup of the arson panic. A suspect alleged to have been trying to fan the flames in Oceanside pleaded not guilty.
What We Learned This Week
• There are four major myths about San Diego’s drone industry. (And drones weren’t used for the fires.)
• While many agree that the current way San Diego schools decide who gets which teachers is problematic but no reforms are included in the negotiations going on right now with the teacher’s union.
• There are nine high-profile misconduct cases facing the city of San Diego’s police department. Check out our explainer of them.
• Two uncomfortable truths have become clear from the fury over proposed density in Clairemont.
• Comments on our site have exploded and we’ve learned a few things from the system.
• A key trio of hitters are finally healthy for the Padres, and that leads our Sports Report.
• Brent Wilkes, the man who bribed former U.S. Rep. Duke Cunningham, has exhausted all his chances to stay out of prison. The U-T’s Greg Moran reports he has been locked up. One of Cunningham’s prosecutors was pretty disgusted Wilkes stayed out of this long. “If he was a person of color and had committed a dope crime or any other type of crime he would definitely have been in jail this whole time,” he said.
Quote of the Week
“I question whether or not six fires haven’t been set by somebody. I’ve never seen anything like this in 20 years.”
— County Supervisor Bill Horn