Oct. 26–Nov. 4, 2003

•Total Acres: 56,700

•Estimated Suppression Cost: $13,000,000

•Firefighters Assigned at Peak: 2,222

•Residences Destroyed: 221

•Commercial Structures Destroyed: 2

•Other Structures Destroyed: 192

•Lives Lost: 2

•Communities Evacuated: Valley Center, Lake Wolford,

Escondido, Deer Springs, Mesa Verde, Mesa Grande,

La Jolla, Mt. Palomar, Scripps Ranch

•Cause: Human

•Fuel Type: Grass, medium to heavy brush

On October 26, the MACS group declared the Paradise fire as the #3 priority fire behind the Cedar and Old fires. The Incident Command Team perceived a significant delay in receiving critical resources. Life safety became the primary focus of all strategic and tactical decisions due to drastically limited resources. Perimeter control was secondary until additional resources became available as the fire burned blocks of homes. The team employed a strategy of going outside of the ordering system to get equipment. Local tribal governments provided resources. The Paradise Fire was included as the San Diego Unified Area Coordination Team was established on October 30. This Area Coordination Team adjusted resource orders for the fires within their area. The pre-existing evacuation plan for Palomar Mountain was implemented smoothly.

Source: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (2004). California fire siege 2003: The story. Retrieved January 18, 2005 from