Officials order mandatory evacuation in 900-acre Chihuahua Fire
More than 200 firefighters battled a 900-acre brush fire in the East County highlands northeast of Warner Springs early Friday.
Lightning sparked a series of fires Friday, with the most significant scorching hundreds of open acres about 1 p.m. off Chihuahua Valley Road in the Dodge Valley area and spreading toward some backcountry homes for a time.
The burn area had grown to about 900 acres by 9:30 p.m. with no containment, said Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler, who reported that the blaze was 5 percent containment as of 4 a.m. Friday
Voluntary evacuation advisories went out around 7:30 p.m. Thursday for residents in the immediate area, Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler said. Overnight, those advisories were bumped up to mandatory evacuation orders, although such orders cannot be legally enforced in California.
The American Red Cross opened up a shelter at Warner Springs High School on state Route 79.
Continuing lightning strikes caused four other small fires in the area of Palomar Mountain Friday afternoon, Mohler said. Federal forestry crews were able to quickly subdue the blazes, the largest of which burned about a quarter-acre, reported CalFire.
By early evening, ground and airborne Cal Fire personnel were getting a good handle on the major blaze, dubbed the Chihuahua Fire, Mohler said. No structural damage or injuries were reported.
A total of 15 fire engines, 12 fire crews, three air tankers, six helicopters, three bulldozers and four water tenders were assigned to the incident, but additional strike teams of engines, fire crews and bulldozers were ordered for Friday, according to Cal Fire.
- Cal Fire fights 8-acre brush fire in Lakeside
- Cause of quarter-acre fire in Highland Valley is unknown
- CalFire fighting 400-acre fire near Warner Springs
- CalFire investigates cause of 15-acre fire in Ramona
- Lightning triggers fires in backcountry
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