Garry Gramman reports on the San Diego Fire

This is an e-mail that Garry Gramman, N119C, sent to us today reporting his perspective on the devastating Cedar Fire in the San Diego area this past October. He also attached a map showing the fire area on which we have added circles in El Cajon (lower left) to show the location of his home airport, Gillespie Field (SEE), and his residence.

Hi Dave,

Sorry it has taken me so long to write you and let you know that we survived. We are all OK, but the fire came awfully close. The fire was just east of Greenfield Drive when we took our important papers and pictures and left for my wife's sister's in La Jolla. This was Sunday [October 26th] evening, and we stayed until Thursday. I came back every day to check up on things, and it was so smoky the sun was nearly blotted out--just an orange disk in the sky!

I have attempted to attach a map to this e-mail to show some of the areas affected. Crest, as the name implies, is built on the crest of a 2000 foot mountain. Most of the homes were burned out. The fireman made a stand and held the fire at Greenfield Drive. Our home is located just under the "Dr." in Greenfield Dr., about 8/10 of a mile from the fire. Crest is located just east of I-8, about four or five miles on a straight-in to runway 27 at Gillespie Field (SEE). SEE can be located on the map and is left of 67, between El Cajon and Santee.

The Mite, of course, was in my hanger, and outside of some soot and ashes, was OK. I wiped it down so the paint wouldn't be damaged by the ashes.

The fire didn't reach SEE, and as a matter of fact it was used as a staging area for all the equipment that belatedly arrived to fight the San Diego fire. President Bush had one of the several programs from SEE. Air Force One landed at The Marine Corp Air Station at Miramar, and Bush traveled locally by helicopter.

We've had a couple of light drizzles since the fire which served to clear the air of soot and ashes. It also turned cool, and cold at night--38 degrees one night--which gave the firefighters some relief....


Photos of the Cedar Fire and others can be seen at:

11 November, 2003