Note on Transcription and Redaction of the RMWD Cedar Fire Hearings


In late January of 2004 the Ramona Municipal Water District, at the request of the Mussey Grade Road Alliance, held meetings at which testimony by citizens affected by the Cedar Fire was heard.  These meetings were tape recorded, as are all meetings of the RMWD.  These tapes are available to the public, and can be obtained from the RMWD at the address given below.


The Cedar Fire tapes were professionally transcribed using funds provided by the Mussey Grade Road Alliance. These transcripts are in the possession of the Alliance.  While these transcriptions are generally of good quality, they are a verbatim record and no effort has been made to correct errors of fact, grammar, incorrect transcriptions, or misspelled names.


In order to provide a version to the general public, it was decided to create a redacted version of the document, with all addresses removed and all names replaced with pseudonyms.  This was done to assure the privacy of the speakers as well as to circumvent any shortcomings in the transcriptions. This redaction was performed according to the following conventions:


The names of all speakers were replaced with pseudonyms. The pseudonyms were chosen so that they occur in roughly alphabetic order (ex. Albert, Betty, Carl, … etc.).

These names are selected totally at random and convey no information about the speaker aside from gender. Where husband and wife speak together or sequentially, they are assigned the same initial letter (ex. Albert and Alice).  Incidental names are replaced with a series of capital letters (ex: XXXX, YYYY, etc.).


Exceptions to this rule include Water Board members Kessinger and Krysak, public figures, including CDF officers, and MGRA members Diane Conklin (spokesperson), and Joseph Mitchell (responsible for redaction), and former Ramona Planning Group chair Sam Mitchell (no relation to Joseph Mitchell).


All address numbers and many street names have been removed. Open and closed square brackets [] signify where these, or other, information have been removed. Some exceptions, for example “Kitty and Ira’s Café”, which is a landmark in Fernbrook, have been preserved.  Often, the exact location has been replaced with a general area (ex: [Fernbrook]).  These areas are defined below.


There were two general areas in Ramona where structures were lost during the Cedar Fire. The first consists of San Diego Country Estates, which is a development of small to moderately sized lots abutting the Cleveland National Forest. This, and the adjoining Barona Mesa area, consisting of dwellings of larger lot sizes, were the first areas of Ramona hit by the Cedar Fire in the early morning hours of October 26, 2003.


The fire then passed through sparsely populated ranchland and the northern end of the Barona reservation before impacting the second population center in Ramona – the Mussey Grade area. Areas named in this redaction within the Mussey Grade area include Kimball Valley, a sparsely populated area of large holdings and first hit in the Mussey Grade area, at about 4:30 a.m.  The Mussey Grade area consists mostly of scattered dwellings, with large lots, surrounded by chaparral or oak-riparian woodlands. There are two major concentrations of homes:  Fernbrook, near the southern end of the road, a small community of ¼ to 1 acre lot sizes, and MG Village, a trailer park, over a mile to the north.  The heavily wooded area ends yet another mile to the north at Dos Picos Park Road, and it was here that a fire line was drawn by the fire services. There was no professional fire assistance south of this fire line during the morning hours of October 26.


Should egregious inaccuracies be found in the transcriptions, or if speakers wish their names to be attached to their statements, please contact the email address below. These modifications will be included in future versions.


The Ramona Municipal Water District can be contacted at:

105 Earlham Rd.

P.O. Box 1829

Ramona, CA 92065



Joseph W. Mitchell

for the Mussey Grade Road Alliance


January 1, 2005