Scripps Ranch Strong

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2003. If you lived in Scripps Ranch on that date, you probably recall vividly where you were when you heard that a fire was heading to our community and we had to leave—now! We all know what happened next. How 312 of our neighbors lost their homes. How they went through the grueling rebuilding process. How Scripps Ranch bonded together and came to embody the word “community,” and how we earned the title Scripps Ranch Strong.

This Special Edition SRCA Newsletter commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the Cedar Fire. We devote 12 pages to how to be better prepared for another disaster, how firefighting has changed, and how survivors are still paying it forward.

We also look back with a unique perspective. What fire survivors recall 10 years later is obviously very different from what they remembered one year after the fire. What I think you’ll find interesting is that most of the fire survivors focus on the positives that came out of losing their homes. They gained new perspectives and amazing friendships.

You will read over and over in this issue how experts say it is not “if” but “when” another fire will hit Scripps Ranch. We must prepare—now! We hope to help.

There is an evacuation planning booklet stapled in the middle of this Newsletter. It includes your probable evacuation route and other crucial information. Please remove the brochure, read it, and follow the advice. A huge thank you goes to Jerry Mitchell and Bob Ilko, who worked hard to put together this plan.

The stories—and pictures—that captured my heart are from the teenagers who were young children at the time of the fire. Those are in our Special Report: Kids Korner on page 13. Thank you, Grace and Jordan, for sharing your memories!

The SRCA was instrumental in speeding up the rebuilding process, as detailed on page 23. In addition, the SRCA will host two events to mark this anniversary:

  • A Day of Community Service on Saturday, Oct. 9
  • An Anniversary Lunch on Sunday, Oct. 27

Check out pages 40–41 for details.

There are many folks I want to thank for their help with this Newsletter:

  • The amazing people who contributed to this issue.
  • Bob Ilko and Cheryl Shaw, whom I called my “consultants”–you rock!
  • Scripps Ranch resident and photographer Martin Mann, who took most of the pictures of the Cedar Fire that you see on the cover and in this Newsletter, and who graciously allowed us to use them.
  • Newsletter graphics editor Victoria Mazelli, who went above and beyond with her work on this issue.

In other news there’s an important meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 pm. The Scripps Ranch Planning Group will discuss the proposed “big box” store on Carroll Canyon Road. Find out more on page 39.

Halloween is almost here, and there are events in Scripps Ranch to celebrate:

  • Miramar Ranch Elementary‘s 40th Annual Halloween Carnival on Saturday, Oct. 26, see page 49;
  • Also on Saturday, Oct. 26, “Trick or Treat” and enjoy other fun activities at the Scripps Ranch Marketplace, page 35; and,
  • Halloween Carnival at the Scripps Ranch Recreation Center, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 3:30–5:30 pm, page 35.

I want to go back to the fire survivors. They exhibited a tremendous amount of strength and grace in the way they handled this disaster. Many of them will tell you they had no other choice, but I beg to differ.

They could have taken a “woe is me” attitude. Instead, they mourned their losses, picked themselves up, rebuilt, and now help others facing similar situations. We dedicate this Special Edition SRCA Newsletter to the fire survivors, who taught us all how to be Scripps Ranch Strong!

Gloria Tran, Editor