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Wildfire Burns 1,000 Acres In San Diego’s East County

The approximate location of the El Monte Fire in San Diego's East County on August 21, 2010.
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Above: The approximate location of the El Monte Fire in San Diego's East County on August 21, 2010.

A fast moving wildfire in San Diego's East County burned 1,021 acres of dry, rural land over the weekend. The flames briefly threatened structures and forced a few precautionary evacuations, according to Cal Fire officials. The fire started just after 1 p.m. on Saturday on the north side of El Monte Road, near El Monte Park in Lakeside, and spread to the Cleveland National Forest.

The fire was 60 percent contained on Sunday night, according to U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kate Kramer. Full containment of the fire is expected by Monday night, said Kramer.

A pair of hikers and eight people in a cabin were rescued by helicopter when they were trapped in the path of the fast-moving blaze. Cal Fire officials said the flames were just feet from the hikers when they were pulled to safety by a Cal Fire helicopter.

Kramer said airtankers and firefighting choppers were their first defense in the fire assault because steep terrain made it difficult for ground crews to battle the flames.

The area last burned in the 2003 Cedar Fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Fire officials say more hot and dry weather is expected around the county this week, increasing the risk of fires.

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