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Firefighters Make Progress On 2,500-Acre ‘Banner Fire’ Near Julian

Above: This Cal Fire map shows the location of the Banner Fire, near Julian. The red outlines where the fire is active.

Map

Above: The location of the Banner Fire reported by CAL FIRE.

Wildfire Safety Tips

  • Develop a Plan: Talk with members of your household about wildfires — how to prevent them and what to do if one occurs. Post fire emergency telephone numbers.
  • Determine Escape Routes: Plan several escape routes away from your home by car and by foot.
  • Decide Where to Meet: Select a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate.
  • Protect Your Home: Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind.
  • Create a 100-Foot Safety Zone Around Your Home.

Source: American Red Cross

Authorities evacuated a campground near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park today as firefighters worked to corral a wildfire that has scorched thousands of open acres in rugged terrain east of Julian.

About 50 people were cleared out of Stagecoach Trails RV Park & Resort in the early afternoon when the blaze, dubbed the Banner Fire, flared up while moving to the southeast through Shelter Valley, authorities said.

The county opened an evacuation center at Borrego Springs High School for any displaced campers who needed it.

The fire erupted for unknown reasons in the Cigarette Hills area, near Banner Grade, early Thursday afternoon. Within two hours, it had grown to 1,000-plus acres, driven by steady winds out of the west.

The flames have spread over more than 2,500 acres, closing several highways and moving toward some inhabited areas but causing no known structural damage or injuries, according to Cal Fire. By late this morning, crews had the burn area roughly 20 percent contained, said Nick Schuler, a battalion chief for the state agency.

"There's been a lot of work done overnight,'' he said. "The winds have increased a little bit, but we're making good progress.''

Shortly after the blaze erupted, authorities cleared residents out of about 100 back-country residences potentially in its path in Shelter Valley.

Those evacuees were allowed to return to their homes within 12 hours.

Hundreds of personnel have been working the fire lines, aided by crews aboard air tankers and water-dropping helicopters. There have been no estimates for projected time of full containment or control.

It was unclear what sparked the flames, which moved through an area scorched last October by a 2,100-acre blaze dubbed the Great Fire.

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