Around Lakeside – Cedar Fire Monument Garden still in the works

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Perhaps you have driven by the newest Fire Station/Administration office on Lakeside Avenue and wondered what they are building in the lot next door. It is the new Cedar Fire Monument Garden, a place for the public to come to remember the 15 victims who lost their lives in the fire and to reflect and think about lessons learned and the journey of rebuilding their lives after the Cedar Fire of 2003. It will also be a place of education, a place for youth to learn about the devastation of fires.

Perhaps you have driven by the newest Fire Station/Administration office on Lakeside Avenue and wondered what they are building in the lot next door. It is the new Cedar Fire Monument Garden, a place for the public to come to remember the 15 victims who lost their lives in the fire and to reflect and think about lessons learned and the journey of rebuilding their lives after the Cedar Fire of 2003. It will also be a place of education, a place for youth to learn about the devastation of fires.

A dedicated group of local citizens worked on this project for two years and it is finally becoming a reality. They included members of the Chamber of Commerce, Historical Society, Fire Department, Eucalyptus Hills Fire Safe Council, construction and general citizenship. They started with a small spit of land, hardly noticeable from the street and after gathering donations they hired a landscape architect who came up with an artistic drawing of their wishes and dreams. Jack Williams, a retired construction contractor, donated his expertise, organized the work and hired companies to make the plans really happen.

A tall rock spire from a local quarry was set in place, decorative walkways were poured, a sitting wall was constructed, large boulders were carefully set in place and native trees and fire retardant landscape planted. Space on the large blank wall will have artwork from local artists and trellises will help vining plants grow up and cover the wall. A rock-based flagpole will have a place for a red flag warning on windy days. Still to be installed is a wrought iron fence that is being created by artistic welder, David Kassel.

The Cedar Fire Monument Committee is planning to have the grand opening in October, which will be the 11th anniversary of the Cedar Fire. They are asking for help from the community in the form of donations to keep the project moving along. If you or your organization would like to help with the Monument you can donate on line by Go Fund Me Lakeside Monument or send a check to the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation, 2508 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 200, San Diego, Ca. 92106-6138.

For information you may log on to Lakesidefire.net website or call Fire District office at 390-2350.

Bob Robeson, the chairman of the Committee, said donations came in from Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office, Eucalyptus Hills Fire Safe Council, Lakeside Garden Club, Lakeside Historical Society, Woman’s Club of Lakeside, Barona, El Capitan Fire Safe Council and individual citizens as well.

Several artists, who will be creating the artwork want to use your artifacts from the fire in their designs, please bring your items to show them to the Cedar Fire Monument Garden on Saturday, July 11 at 8:30am.

Fire Chief, Andy Parr asked, “Do you have a story to tell about the Cedar Fire?

If you do the Monument Committee would like for you to submit your memories and tell stories in written or recorded formats to post on the website so that others can hear from those who lived within the walls of the flame either by being awoken by the roar early on October 25, 2003 or by those who fled narrowly ahead of the beast on the following days.“  

Please contact Torie Bradeen at mstorieb@yahoo.com or call 619-672-0582 if you have any questions or wish to participate in this project.