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SD Chariot Fire

MOUNT LAGUNA (CNS) - Crews laboring to get lines of containment around the largely extinguished Chariot Fire that charred an estimated 7,055 acres and destroyed scores of structures southeast of Julian had the daunting task nearly complete tonight.

The blackened site of the fire near Mount Laguna was 95 percent surrounded as of 6 p.m., according to Cal Fire.

The burn area was expected to be fully encircled Saturday, a week after the blaze erupted for unknown reasons near Chariot Mountain, the state agency reported.

The wind-whipped flames destroyed 149 buildings -- a majority of them campground cabins -- damaged another nine structures and resulted in 11 minor injuries, mostly heat exhaustion suffered by firefighters.

Many of the losses were at Al Bahr Shrine Camp, which lost its lodge, social hall and about 10 cottages -- all log structures built in the 1920s -- along with 85 or more residential trailers.

The fire forced about 120 evacuations Sunday and Monday along with a full closure of Sunrise Highway.

The cause remained under investigation tonight.