The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Laguna Fire

The Laguna Fire, previously known as the Kitchen Creek Fire and the Boulder Oaks Fire, was, at its time, the largest fire in the history of California. It was started by downed power lines during Santa Ana winds in the Kitchen Creek area of the Laguna Mountains in eastern San Diego County on the morning of September 26, 1970. In only 24 hours it burned westward about 30 miles (50 km) to the outskirts of El Cajon and Spring Valley. The fire devastated the communities of Harbison Canyon and Crest. In the end the fire burned 175,425 acres (710 km²) and 382 homes killing eight people.

The Laguna Fire was surpassed as the largest fire in California history by the 280,278 acre (1,134 km²) Cedar Fire in October 2003.


At at time when high Santa Ana winds grounded other firefighting aircraft, a representative of Canadair brought a CL-215 to southern California to demonstrate its capabilities. He was turned away by firefighting officials. Nevertheless, while other firefighting aircraft were unable to fly safely he operated his "Super Scooper" out of El Capitan Reservoir and dropped water on the Laguna Fire wherever he saw fit. The firefighting officials were unimpressed and such aircraft are not used in southern California to fight fires to this day (with the exception of two CL-415s leased by Los Angeles County during the fire season).

Last updated: 05-21-2005 14:55:46