Eagle Fire Torches Land Leased as Military Training Ground

A guard shack goes up in flames on land owned by a private company formerly known as Eagle Rock Training Center.

The on Los Coyotes Indian Reservation near Warner Springs has consumed at least 1,100 acres as of 1 p.m. Friday.

The torched area includes property leased by the Los Coyotes tribe to a private company called ERTC, formerly known as Eagle Rock Training Center, according to Eagle Rock founder Brian Bonfiglio. In an interview with Patch, he said the guard shack on the leased land has been consumed by the fire. He said it was not staffed when the fire started last night but is usually staffed during the day.

Cal Fire earlier reported that the fire began at about 10:40 p.m. Thursday. The cause is under investigation.

The leased land is in an area that is not open to the public, east of the Los Coyotes campground on the reservation.

"The ERTC land is not a training facility," Bonfiglio told Patch. "It is a land lease used by the military or government when they need to augment their training and do not have a location, such as Camp Pendleton, available to them for whatever reason, such as shortage of staffing."

The fire is in an extremely remote location in northeastern San Diego county between Warner Springs off state Route 79 and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Firefighters from throughout northern San Diego county as well as Riverside and San Bernardino counties are responding, including volunteer and correctional facility crews.

Click here to see a video tour of Eagle Rock Training Center done by Channel 8 TV in May 2011.

Patch will bring updates to this story throughout the day.

kat July 24, 2011 at 02:03 AM
Strange days indeed....the obvious connection between Bonfiglio and this training center (badly located in fire prone backcountry)exists! Is this not what one of the major concerns of the Portrero folks was all about? Thank you Ray for investigating the connection..... My friend was the one to call the fire in at 10:30pm. She was told that "I'm sure the training facility has it under control" Right.....
lisa Cwiklinski July 24, 2011 at 05:52 AM
The Eagle Rock Training Center training center and that is what it is , exists to do The Eagle Rock Training Center does the same training that Blackwater does and if you think not, you are a fooling yourself. Everyone prays there is no loss of life though we know that wildlife and habitat in the area has already suffered. If it turns out that the fire started on the Bonfiglio Eagle Rock Training Center property they need to be held accountable and an investigation into why the military has allowed their training to be conducted on other than state or federal should be called into question. It is shameful.
Julie Pendray July 24, 2011 at 01:26 PM
We will explore the Eagle Rock angle more once the immediate issue of the size of this fire is under control. I did talk to Brian Bonfiglio about it on Friday. He denied any "affiliation with Blackwater," etc. My focus is on the fire itself and safety right now but rest assured we are not ignoring other angles.
tom Comeau July 25, 2011 at 05:52 PM
How Garrett goes from this topic, to accusing Lutz of "hating capitalism" as if Blackwater/Xe represents capitalism, illustrates how right wing nuts seize any opportunity to bash those who dare to think differently. Lutz's opposition to Blackwater/Xe represents the view of many in our over-militarized nation who see these unaccountable "shooters" fas a menace to society. All are former military l who just can't give up the toys. These gung-ho societal misfits want to make a business of military affairs, like guarding embassies and government officials. They have extended their contracts, with the help of State Department/Defense Department officials, who understand the real problem is the shortage of troops due to the lack of a draft, providing them an excellent opportunity to privatize war and to operate without the usual constraints applied to military operations. It wasn't until after a few well publicized shootings/ murders/, , that these officials decided to rein in those gun-happy goons and place them under the UCMJ like the rest of the people carrying guns in that area. Keep the heat on Ray and don't let a few right wing wackos deter you from identifying what is a clear threat to our free society, i.e., people who love their precious guns more than they do their nation and whose allegiance is to the guy who writes the check and not their nation. Tom Comeau USN Ret. (Vietnam Vet 67/68)
Al Garrett July 26, 2011 at 10:45 PM
Wow. cap·i·tal·ism –noun An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth. I'd have to say checkmate on that one Tom. Blackwater, Xe, ERTC all fit the definition of capitalism, regardless of whether or not you approve of how they make their money. I didn't make ad hominem attacks on you or Ray and it makes me wonder why you, another member of Ray's Anti-Blackwater listserver group, decided to call me out? All I pointed out was that of all the responses to that point, only Ray's wasn't about concern for people and firefighters. Ray successfully ran Blackwater out of Potrero and away from Southwestern College, at the detriment of our Police Academy, so why does he continue to chase them to the ends of the earth, even after they reached a legal agreement with a local tribal authority? If I choose to support the Constitution, that makes me a "right wing nut" or "right wing wacko" who "loves my precious guns more than my nation"? The people with guns aren't a threat to free society; they are the ones who gave you the right to live free. You don't know me. You don't know if I own guns. But since I DO support the Constitution, I support your right to say whatever you wish, even if you do sound ignorant doing it. As with Ray, I wish you a wonderful day. Al


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