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McCain Fire in southeastern San Diego County 87% contained

Smoke rises from the McCain fire in southeastern San Diego County, July 2, 2024.
Smoke rises from the McCaine fire in southeastern San Diego County, July 2, 2024.

The McCain Fire in the rural southeastern reaches of San Diego County was 87% contained Friday after burning 1,595 acres, officials said.

The fire's size was upgraded from 1,362 acres to 1,595 acres early Thursday due to better mapping products, though the fire activity remained low, according to Cal Fire San Diego.

"Demobilization of excess resources took place today and will continue into tomorrow. Firefighters have been diligently working to increase containment throughout the day," the agency said Thursday. "Tomorrow, they will face extreme heat, with temperatures expected to exceed 105 degrees. Crews remain actively engaged in mop-up and patrol operations, as well as mitigating any potential hazards."


All evacuation warnings and road closures in Boulevard were lifted as of Wednesday, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Authorities advised the public to drive slowly and be mindful of firefighters, deputies, road and utility crews working in the area.

The blaze erupted at about 3:30 p.m. Monday when a car overturned and caught fire on Interstate 8 near McCain Valley Road in Boulevard, north of Jacumba Hot Springs, according to Cal Fire.

The flames spread into rugged, rocky, brush-covered terrain on the north side of the freeway, moving toward nearby De Anza Springs Resort, said Mike Cornette, a fire captain with the state agency.

As firefighters battled the blaze on the ground and aboard air tankers and water-dropping helicopters, authorities closed the westbound lanes of the freeway in the area and cleared a total of 144 people out of threatened homes, most of them on the grounds of the resort on Carrizo Gorge Road, Cornette said. A temporary shelter for the evacuees was in operation at Golden Acorn Casino in Campo.

As of midday Tuesday, the fire had caused no reported structural damage, though it had moved to within less than a mile of some residences.


The only known injuries stemming from the emergency were suffered by the motorist involved in the crash that sparked the blaze. Medics took that person to a hospital for treatment of moderately serious trauma, Cornette said.

In the mid-afternoon Tuesday, authorities rescinded the evacuation order pertaining to De Anza Springs Resort, though residents near the burn zone were advised to remain ready to clear out of their neighborhoods should the fire become an imminent threat again.

The fire prompted a smoke advisory for the southeastern reaches of the San Diego area, the county Air Pollution Control District advised.

Among the threats posed by the conflagration involved potential damage to historic and culturally significant Native American artifacts, including wall art, according to Cal Fire.

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