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Wildcat Fire Near Barona Casino Now 68% Contained

Photo caption:

Photo by Christopher Maue

Three firefighters stand watch as crews from the air and ground fought the Wildcat fire near Lakeside, June 17, 2015.

As of around 7:30 a.m., the so-called Wildcat Fire scorched roughly 170 acres and was 38 percent contained.

A wildfire burning along brushy hillsides and ravines east of the Barona Casino was 68 percent contained as of around 4 p.m. Thursday.

TheWildcat fire had blackened about 170 acres since erupting for unknown reasons off Wildcat Canyon Road and Akuunyaa Way in the Lakeside area shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to Cal Fire.

A firefighter suffered a medical-related injury Thursday morning, Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said. He was hoisted by a helicopter to a waiting ambulance. The seriousness of the injury is unknown, Bortisser said.

Bortisser said temperatures were in the low 90s Thursday afternoon.

"Firefighters are getting beat up pretty good out there with this heat," he said.

On Wednesday, the wind-driven flames temporarily threatened backcountry homes and forced some residents to evacuate.

Munzenmaier said no structural damage or injuries had been reported as of 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, and no structures or residents were being threatened.

One witness to the blaze was Jeff Whitlock. His friend's home was destroyed in the October 2003 Cedar fire in the Wildcat Canyon area near Lakeside, so when he heard about Wednesday's blaze he raced to the rebuilt house to see if he could help keep the flames away.

Photo by Christopher Maue

Firefighters on the ground watch as a plane drops retardant on the Wildcat fire near the Barona Casino in Lakeside, June 17, 2015.

"When I first got here, it was out quite a ways, but it came fast. It went all around the (house)," Whitlock said, with Cal Fire trucks surrounding the single-story house.

He credits his friend's decision to make sure the area around the house was cleared of brush with keeping it safe in this fire. Fire officials encourage people to create defensible space around their homes, particularly in high-fire areas.

"Because it was so clean up here, it was bare," Whitlock said. Firefighters told him "that's the only way they could get here and fight it. ... It was easy."

Here's information from San Diego County on fire and defensible space.

Authorities initially closed Wildcat Canyon Road between San Vicente Road and Barona Casino, but it was later reopened.

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