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UPDATE: Evacuation, road closures lifted in Border 32 Fire

Updated: September 5, 2022 at 8:42 AM PDT
The wildfire that spread to more than 4,400 acres northwest of Tecate, destroyed three houses and injured six people was fully contained authorities said Tuesday, and hundreds of displaced residents have returned to their homes. Read more.

Firefighters continued Friday to battle a wildfire that spread over more than 4,400 acres northwest of Tecate, but evacuated residents have been allowed to return to their homes.

Starting at 1:45 p.m. Friday, residents can return, San Diego County Sheriff's Department said. State Route 94 will reopen at the same time, but the Tecate port of entry remains closed.

The port will reopen at 6 a.m. Saturday and is expected to remain open for the usual hours, Customs and Border Protection announced Friday.


The Border 32 Fire has destroyed 10 structures — including three homes — and injured three people, two critically. The blaze as about 20% contained as 7 a.m. Friday, according to Cal Fire.

It erupted for unknown reasons about 2 p.m. Wednesday off Barrett Lake Road, near state Route 94 in the Barrett Junction area, roughly three miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

As ground and airborne crews worked to subdue the fast-moving blaze, deputies evacuated residents in the areas of Barrett Smith and Round Potrero roads, and emergency crews shut down the stretch of state Route 94 between Forrest Gate Road in Campo and Otay Lakes Road in Dulzura, according to the sheriff's officials.

The Tecate Port of Entry also was closed due to the fire, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported.

Two men suffered severe burns as the fire spread, Cal Fire Capt. Thomas Shoots said. They were taken by helicopter to UCSD Medical Center in San Diego. A firefighter sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene before being released to continue battling the flames.


As of early Wednesday evening, by which time the blaze had grown to roughly 1,600 acres, some 400 homes were under evacuation orders. Temporary shelters for the displaced were operating at Jamul Casino and Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley.

As of Friday morning, the fire has consumed 4,438 acres, according to Cal Fire. An estimated 1,500 people have been evacuated and officials say efforts are being made to have some people return to their homes as soon as possible.

"Repopulation is such a big deal for us such a big deal for the residents. We know that the moment that this smoke kind of dissipates, folks expect to go back home and so part of it's an educational component, let folks know. We're still working hard to do their job to make sure they come to power when they do get home. Everybody's working hard to get them back in there," Shoots said.

As of 6:30 p.m. Thursday, some of the evacuated residents — those who live west of Cochera Via Drive and east of Potrero Valley Road — were being allowed to return to their homes. according to the sheriff's department.

Those who had to get livestock out of the path of the fire were advised by the American Red Cross to take them to a county animal services shelter in Bonita.

"It's a very different story today," Shoots said shortly before midday Thursday, describing the lessened ferocity of the fire.

The blaze was still actively burning, however, and triple-digit heat, high winds and low humidity levels kept the danger of renewed serious flare-ups high, he said.

In addition to the gutted homes, the known property losses resulting from the fire were six outbuildings — including barns and sheds — along with a commercial structure and three recreational vehicles, Cal Fire reported.

Some 300 firefighters were battling the flames, using about four air tankers and six helicopters, officials said.

Schools in the Jamul-Dulzura Union and Mountain Empire Unified school districts will be closed Friday due to the blaze, the county Office of Education advised.


This is a breaking news story. We will update as more detail becomes available.