Another year, another raging wild fire.
The place: Locksley Street off Palrado Road in Rancho Bernardo. The time: 8:30 a.m.
At least five homes are on fire. One of them has burned to the ground. A three-person fire crew does its best to contain the blaze, but their efforts are largely fruitless. The fire is doing whatever it wants.
“We're doing what we can,” said San Diego Fire Captain Tony Rivas. “It's crazy. I leave houses burning. I go on to the next one.”
They concentrate their fire hoses on a fully engulfed home near the corner of Locksley and Fieldstone. The point isn't to save the house; the house is beyond saving.
“I'm just trying to keep stuff from moving anywhere else,” Rivas said.
In another neighborhood not far away, a cul de sac on Chretien Court is also ablaze with several homes fully engulfed. Not a soul -- not a firefighter, police officer or homeowner -- is around to do anything about it.
Throughout Rancho Bernardo and Poway, people who manage to dodge police lines remain to try to save their homes.
On Tam O Shanter Drive in Poway, 25-year-old Andrew Burr and some friends are in Burr's backyard wetting down the roof, fruit trees and bushes with hoses. The bushes earlier lit up with eight-foot flames, and Burr and his friends had put them out with buckets of water from a neighbor's pool.
Around the corner, Michael Doering, 49, is going from house to house with his own fire hose spraying down structures. Doering is a Scripps Ranch resident who lived through the 2003 Cedar fire and wanted to help this time around.
“I saw what happened in Scripps and .... you know. These are like $3 million homes here,” Doering said.