Could A Paradise Fire Disaster Happen Here?

By Phil Trubey

May 3, 2021

85 lives lost, over 11,000 homes destroyed, the 2018 fire that tore through Paradise, CA was the deadliest in CA history. Could something smaller in scale, but similar in tragedy happen here?

That’s one of the major concerns opponents of the proposed 283 unit apartment building at the intersection of Encinitas Blvd. and Rancho Santa Fe road have. A recent fire model shows that in Santa Ana conditions, a wildfire could burn through Olivenhain within one hour. The outdated Olivenhain evacuation plan projects it will take 4 hours to evacuate all residents. Add in the proposed 283 unit apartment building on top of Rancho Santa Fe residents fleeing to the west and you have the makings of a disaster.

As the aerial map below shows, there is a huge fire corridor that could erupt in Santa Ana wind conditions and it would lead directly into the already crowded Encinitas/Rancho Santa Fe intersection where three schools currently reside and the apartment building is proposed. Evacuating the schools while other residents flee would result in chaos.


A community group based in Olivenhain is currently running a petition that they will serve on the Encinitas City Council. In the petition, they ask the city to push back against the State of CA which has asked/ordered/bullied the city to waive environment impact reports and ignore critical safety issues as highlighted above. That California would ignore very real fire risks so soon after what happened in Paradise is mind boggling. Anyways, you can sign the petition here.

Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development

The community group is called Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development and they are the group that funded the 180 page fire report linked to above. In addition, they have hired a lawyer to help guide the Encinitas city council as they consider the apartment proposal before them. Tax deductible donations can be made to the Encinitas RRD via their web site.

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