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Chariot Fire Prompts Evacuations Near Julian

Update — 7:42 p.m. Monday: According to Cal Fire, "the Chariot Fire is now 4,700 acres and 15 percent contained. At least eight structures have been damaged or destroyed."


Aired 7/8/13 on KPBS News.

Firefighters labored for a third day today to subdue a wildfire that has blackened about 3,000 acres in rugged terrain southeast of Julian, forcing the evacuation of scores of back-country homes along with several campgrounds.

Firefighters labored for a third day today to subdue a wildfire that has blackened about 3,000 acres in rugged terrain southeast of Julian, forcing the evacuation of scores of back-country homes along with several campgrounds.

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The blaze, which erupted for unknown reasons shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday east of Sunrise Highway in the Chariot Mountain area, was about 15 percent contained as of early this afternoon, according to Cal Fire.

Four crew members have suffered minor injuries while battling the flames, authorities said.

As the weekend came to a close, the so-called Chariot Fire was posing imminent threats to rural communities near Mount Laguna, according to Cal Fire.

Authorities cleared residents out of 20 residences potentially in the path of the flames Sunday night and from 100 others this morning, when the evacuation zone was widened to cover about three miles along Sunrise Highway.

The American Red Cross set up an emergency shelter for the displaced at Joan McQueen Middle School on Tavern Road in Alpine.

The Horse Heaven Campground in the Cleveland National Forest was also evacuated, along with the Al Bahr Shrine, El Prado and Laguna and campgrounds and the Sierra Club's Foster Lodge.

No structural damage had been reported as of this afternoon.

About 1,170 firefighters were working the lines by ground and air, including personnel who had to be flown in by helicopter due to the steep and remote nature of the burn site.

Aiding Cal Fire in the effort were the U.S. Forest Service, California State Parks, and the county Fire Authority and Sheriff's Department.

The California Highway Patrol closed State Route 79 at Sunrise Highway and blocked off the latter roadway at Old Highway 80.

Comments

Avatar for user 'stephanie47'

stephanie47 | July 9, 2013 at 9:08 a.m. ― 1 year ago

Come on KPBS! You are my station & your coverage of this fire is very poor and disappointing. We who live in the backcountry are starved for current info thru the day. Stephanie in Pine Valley.

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Avatar for user 'ellen79'

ellen79 | July 9, 2013 at 10:10 a.m. ― 1 year ago

I, too, was hoping your coverage would be more immediate. I'm very sad to know the Sierra Club camp may be gone. A special place to many people. Ellen in the College Area

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Avatar for user 'danperagine'

danperagine | July 9, 2013 at 10:11 a.m. ― 1 year ago

@ Stephanie47, If you have a smart phone you can get the SD Emergency App.

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Avatar for user 'Suzanne Marmion'

Suzanne Marmion, KPBS Staff | July 9, 2013 at 10:14 a.m. ― 1 year ago

Stephanie47, we are keeping a close eye on this fire and general conditions--you'll hear updates on radio every half hour to hour during the day, and on TV at 5pm and 6:30pm, and constantly on the web--more on all our platforms as there are significant developments. If there are more evacuations ordered or an increase in threatening conditions, you'll hear it from us. Hang in there--we're all looking forward to better weather conditions that mean everybody stays safe. Tune in for KPBS Midday Edition today, where the second segment will go in-depth on the fire situation.

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