Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Public Safety

57 Buildings Destroyed In Alpine Fire

Flames from the West Fire burn brush near Alpine, CA, July 6, 2018.
Matt Hoffman
Flames from the West Fire burn brush near Alpine, CA, July 6, 2018.

As fire lines were established today around 92 percent of the fire that swept through eastern Alpine, the confirmed number of structures lost in the blaze jumped to 57.

The 505-acre fire destroyed 34 residential buildings, 22 outbuildings and a commercial building as of Sunday afternoon, CalFire San Diego announced.

It also damaged another 15 residential buildings and five outbuildings.


Evacuation orders were lifted in their entirety today, as firefighters and government workers were able to survey the damage safely.

The blaze began about 11:15 a.m. Friday on the south side of Interstate 8, at West Willows Road, east of Alpine, according to Cleveland National Forest officials. The wind-stoked flames soon reached a "critical'' rate of spread, Cal Fire reported.

On Friday, television helicopters showed large tile-roofed homes, residential trailers and small outbuildings engulfed in fire.

Crews from various local agencies attacked the blaze on the ground and aboard water- and retardant-dropping aircraft while braving midday heat measured by the National Weather Service at 108 degrees.

One crew member suffered minor burn injuries to his face while battling the blaze, and had been expected to remain hospitalized overnight, Cal Fire reported.


At the height of the blaze, about 3,500 homes and businesses at and around the site of the wildfire were without power, according to San Diego Gas & Electric. Some of those addresses are served by a circuit that the utility decided to deactivate as a precaution, and the rest lost service due to fire-related equipment damage, SDG&E spokesman Wes Jones said Friday.

Power had been restored to most of those customers by Sunday afternoon, but about 160 customers remained without electricity.

Evacuation orders had affected communities including Suncrest Vista Lane, Highlands View Road, Manzanita View, Olive View, Scenic View Road, Pine View, Viejas View Place, Sage View, Oak View Road, Verde View Road, Calle Caleta Viejas and Via La Mancha.Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the area late Friday.

The gubernatorial decree cleared the way for the state to provide immediate disaster assistance to the county, allows for expedited unemployment benefits for anyone who lost a job due to the blaze and waives fees for replacement of documents -- including birth certificates, marriage licenses and vehicle titles -- lost to the flames.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.