In 2003 the Cedar Fire spread along SR-52, almost reaching the eastern edge of our community. The Union-Tribune report of October 26, 2003 included the following statement : “The fire burned 3,000 acres on MCAS Miramar , but no aircraft or structures were damaged,” Miramar spokeswoman Lt. Carolyn Nelson said. The blaze moved aggressively along Highway 52, spreading west to Interstate 805 and east to Highway 125, forcing the complete closure of Highway 52.
An aerial photo of the Cedar Fire, taken from the east of I-15, looking west. It shows the junction of I-15 (running left to right) and SR-52 (top to bottom). The flames & smoke are engulfing Miramar. To the left of the photo (south of SR-52) is the Kearny Mesa community (Ruffin Road, Chesapeake Dr., etc.)
A photo of I-15 near the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station as people struggled to evacuate and escape the Cedar Fire’s approach.
This graphic depicts what might occur if a fire like the Cedar Fire progresses further west and jumps I-805. A fortunate shift in the prevailing winds prevented this situation in the Cedar Fire in 2003. If a fire spreads further west through San Clemente Canyon (a very real possibility) then I-805, SR-52, I-5, south Regents Road, and south Genesee Avenue will be blocked to traffic. The entire community of 14,000 residents in South University City will have to escape to the north and, as things currently stand, there would be only one escape route: Genesee Avenue. Also, emergency vehicles would have only one access route when approaching from the north, coming south on Genesee.