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Jennings Fire 90 Percent Contained, 400 Acres Burned

Firefighters battle the Jennings fire near Interstate 8 and Old Highway 80 in Lakeside, July 11, 2017.
Cal Fire
Firefighters battle the Jennings fire near Interstate 8 and Old Highway 80 in Lakeside, July 11, 2017.

UPDATE: 9:20 a.m., July 13,2017

Crews working to extinguish the smoldering remnants of a wildfire that scorched some 400 acres in the Flinn Springs area had the burn area roughly 90 percent contained Thursday morning.

Engine emissions from a passing vehicle sparked the so-called Jennings Fire alongside Interstate 8 near Old Highway 80 shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to Cal Fire.


RELATED: San Diego Firefighters Help Battle State’s Largest Wildfire

An evacuation order was issued Tuesday for residents of threatened homes along nearby View Side Lane, but they were allowed to return home Tuesday night, according to Cal Fire.

The fire also prompted a temporary shut down of Interstate 8 between Tavern and Lake Jennings Park roads, which led to hours of gridlock in both directions.

One to three eastbound lanes near the fire were out of commission at various times Wednesday morning and afternoon as firefighters continued to douse hot spots and create lines of control around the charred areas. The interstate was fully reopened as of 4:30 p.m., the California Highway Patrol reported.

No structural damage or injuries were reported.

Jennings Fire In East County Started By Automobile Exhaust
Jennings Fire In East County Started By Automobile Exhaust GUEST: Isaac Sanchez, captain, Cal Fire

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. It is Wednesday, July 12. Fire crews continued to contain a blaze in the East county that's consumed 400 acres and caused a mandatory evacuation in Alpine yesterday afternoon. The Jennings Fire cause the temporary shutdown of a section of interstate eight. The wildfire in San Diego is just one of several blazes burning in California as they continue to burn. What is the status of the Jennings Fire now? So we are at 400 acres, 30% contained. All evacuations have been lifted and no structures were damaged or destroyed. What about the freeway is that open now? No, we still have lane controls on the freeway. We want them to be aware of that but our goal is to get that open by the busy commute. Aware is that closure? It is right there at Clint Springs road about 2 1/2 miles. What are the weather conditions expected to be brought today? We we have a return of some of the humidity . We will still see very high temperatures in some areas. That humidity will be up but fire conditions are so explosive. They still have a lot of work to do. Do we know the cost -- cause of the fire? We do not. We are working with investigators to see what started the fire. How many firefighters are on the scene? We are about 430 firefighters are out assigned to the incident and they will be there throughout today even into tomorrow. We have opened fire line. What is the condition of the brush in the area. Is a very dense and dry? It is. And very steep rugged terrain. We have to remember that even though we had a lot of rain this year. We are still up against five years of drought stricken feels. With this new crop it is a Catch-22. We need that rain but then it adds another layer of fuel growth. Are those conditions a concern this fire season across San Diego? They are. The state of California including the epidemic of the tree die off. We have over 100 million trees that add to that fuel growth. It is explosive at this point. There are fires going on across the state still a few major fires burning to the north of us, what is the status of the Whittier and Alamo fires in the San Luis Obispo region question The Alamo fire 28,607 acres and 65% containment. The Whittier fire is 11,000 acres that 48% containment. We are looking at 16 large wildfires across the state at this point with over 6000 firefighters. Those fires up in Santa Barbara are huge. Have they caused any structure damage and has anybody been injured? We've had firefighter injuries and then we've had structure damage on both fires. I don't have the exact numbers but this is where we'll find the public that repair your family and have that plan. We never predict fire season. We monitor weather conditions but what we are seeing already that Outlook throughout the remainder of summer and fall looks like it's going to be busy. I think all of us noticed that fire agencies are fighting fires differently these days. The responses faster and more accurate. You now have members of the team who specific duty it is to monitor fires and report on how they are burning. Tell us about that. That is correct. There is not a day that we don't learn and train and not only CalFire but our federal and local partners. We work together and that is how we have a lot of major disasters in California but we work together very closely on the same teams but what you are referring to is what we call a fire behavior analyst. They monitor the fuel conditions, release components on how hot the fire is burning and predict or look at where that fire is going to go for each and every 24 operational period. A very instrumental part to our team. Do they give you some of that information in real-time to the firefighters were on the line? That is correct, yes. Not only in the briefings but that could be relayed on real-time and where the fuel moisture levels are at and areas targeted for explosive fire growth. A wild fire hazard map has been drawn up for San Diego county. We are really know some areas are more prone to fires than others. What more does a map like that Telus? I think for the public -- if you are in a high fire hazard areas San Diego is not -- if you live in one of those areas preparation is for everyone throughout the county estate but if you're in those high fire areas you need to know that there is a reason and there are specialists that go out and do that. It is not if it is threatened, it is when it is going to happen. Preparation, preparation, preparation. You say firefighters are expected to be out all day today and tomorrow on the Jennings Fire? We that is correct. We have 30% containment. The spread has stopped. Weather conditions in any time we have opened fire line it is a cause for concern so we still have resources out there . We will be constructing line but also have control to make sure to keep it within its 400 acre footprint right now. I've been speaking with Mike Mueller Thank you so much. Thank you for having us. We according to a new report by Voice of San Diego, SANDAG's troubles with revenue forecasting disclosures did not start with the last years the ballot measure. Last fall investigation revealed that projections said that the proposed tax would not bring in the $18 billion SANDAG told voters that would. Now more has revealed that they've misrepresented the amount of money that could be raised by the TransNet tax approved in 2004. That has contributed to a multibillion-dollar shortfall for FedEx transportation projects. Joining me is Andrew who was the reporter. Welcome. Thank you.