Border Fire strikes San Diego County

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During this current heat wave that has seen temperatures over 100 degrees around San Diego County, a fire has broken out near the town of Potrero, along highways 188 and 94, near the border with Mexico, less than a mile from the Mexican city of Tecate.

Border Fire (CalFire)
Border Fire (CalFire)

As of their last report, CalFire says there are 1,500 acres burned or burning, and highway 94 is closed.

It began Sunday (June 19) at approximately 11 a.m. and spread quickly, jumping highway 94 heading north. The town of Potrero was evacuated and many evacuees could see the fire burning on both sides of the highway.

Schools in the Mountain Empire Unified School District are closed today and will remain so until further notice. The Red Cross has opened up a shelter at Campo Elementary School, 1654 Buckman Springs Road.

Animals have been evacuated as well, to the Circle T Ranch in Descanso.

According to CalFire, the Border Fire is 5 percent contained.

Where the fire is in relation to the U.S.-Mexican Border (Google Maps)
Where the fire is in relation to the U.S.-Mexican Border (Google Maps)

Sherpa Fire

Two-hundred-sixty-five to the north the Sherpa Fire continues to burn, having now consumed nearly 8,000 acres. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department says the fire is now 51 percent contained.

The SBCFD posted these points about the Sherpa Fire:

  • Sundowner winds were observed over portions of the fire with gusts up to 55 mph. Relative humidity was lower at 10-15% .
  • Temperatures in the high 80’s were experienced today and are expected to increase Monday to high 90’s to low 100’s on the fire. Red flag warning issued for 3:00 p.m. on Sunday through 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
  •   Overall fire behavior was moderate yet the fire still has the potential to increase in activity. Observed fire behavior included short runs along the north and east open line with isolated consumption of unburned fuels within the perimeter. Crews continue to make good progress in securing the west flank. Fire continues to flank, moving up Corral Canyon and on the Santa Ynez Peak to the east.
  •   Fire activity along Highway 101 is under continuous evaluation by fire managers and the California Highway Patrol. The Hwy may be closed again if the fire is determined to be a hazard to motorists.
  • InciWeb

      Based on the wind measurements this afternoon, winds are stronger and have started earlier than yesterday winds.

Evacuation orders and warning remain in effect.

  •   Mandatory: From east of the Refugio burn area, Refugio State Beach: Refugio Canyon, Venadito Canyon, Canada del Venadito Canyon, Las Flores Canyon, El Capitan Canyon, El Capitan Ranch, El Capitan State Beach, Canada de la Destiladera.
  • Warning: Calle Lippizana east to Farren Road, Las Llagas Canyon, Gato Canyon, Las Varas Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon, Eagle Canyon.
  •   Residents who live in West Goleta are encouraged to formulate an emergency evacuation plan.

There are larger fires burning in Arizona and New Mexico as well. The heat wave, along with the drought, has made this a very dangerous fire season.

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UPDATE: 9:30 p.m.: CalFire is reporting that the Border Fire has now consumed over 7,500 acres and is only five percent contained.

Mandatory evacuations have been issued for Potrero, Forest Gate, Star Ranch, Cowboy Ranch, Dog Patch and Canyon City. A shelter has been set up at Los Coches Creek Middle School, 9669 Dunbar Ln., El Cajon, CA 92021.

Highway 94 is closed. Four structures have been destroyed and three firefighters were reported to have minor injuries.

In its last report, CalFire said, “Triple digit temperatures and single digit humidity is creating extreme fire behavior and increased activity is being experienced.”