Tuesday, June 19, 2012
A wildfire that has blackened more than 900 acres, destroyed a home and threatened scores of others in the southeastern reaches of San Diego County was 75 percent contained today, with full containment expected tonight and full control to follow Wednesday night, according to Cal Fire.
But about 200 rural residences remained threatened by the so-called Old Fire, which erupted for unknown reasons near Old Highway 80 and Miller Valley Road in the Campo area Sunday afternoon.
Nearly 1,000 firefighters were assigned to fight the fire, backed up by bulldozers, water trucks, four air tankers, four helicopters and more than five dozen engines. A sheriff's emergency-services helicopter also had been making water drops.
The cost of fighting the fire was estimated at $1.15 million as of this morning, Cal Fire reported.
Firefighters were facing challenging conditions -- strong winds, high heat, low humidity. A National Weather Service red flag warning indicating wildfire conditions is scheduled to be in effect in East County mountains and deserts until 11 p.m.
The blaze destroyed a residence and a recreational vehicle while spreading over back-country terrain east of Pine Valley, and a firefighter suffered minor heat exhaustion while working the lines, Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler said.
The Sheriff's Department used a "reverse 911'' system Sunday to clear people out of threatened homes. After daybreak Monday, additional evacuation orders were issued for residents of Boulevard and Live Oak Springs.
About 200 residences were evacuated on along Old Highway 80 and on Church Road, according to Cal Fire.
Eastbound state Route 94 was closed at Church Road, along with a stretch of Old Highway 80 from Crestwood Road to Live Oak Springs.
Jacumba and Clover Flat elementary schools were closed Monday as a precaution, according to the Mountain Empire Unified School District. An evacuation center and command post were in operation at Golden Acorn Casino.