Heavy rain from a serendipitous thunderstorm assisted firefighters at a wildfire that had scorched about 1,900 acres northeast of Palomar Mountain, and crews expected to fully contain it Sunday.
CalFire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler said flash flooding was reported Saturday afternoon in Chihuahua Valley, a remote canyon northeast of Palomar Mountain where more than 880 men and woman had toiled to fight the fire in 100-degree-plus heat until the rain arrived.
Evacuation requests were lifted Saturday evening for about 200 ranches and cabins in the valley, as the blaze was 80 percent contained, according toCal Fire.
The monsoon storms that hit northeast San Diego County and western Riverside County were a double-edged sword, as lightning sparked several small lightning-caused fires Saturday. Three small fires were reported in the Palomar Mountains and two in the Cuyamaca Mountains, although most were just a single tree on fire, according to a statement from Cal Fire spokeswoman Roxanne Provaznik.
A dry lightning strike sparked the biggest blaze at about 1 p.m. Thursday near Chihuahua Valley Road and state Route 79, Cal Fire said. About six hours later, authorities began advising residents in the immediate area to pack up and leave their homes as a precaution.
No structures were reported damaged, but the cost to suppress the fire was estimated at $1.5 million, according to Cal Fire.
A firefighter who was overheated in 103 degree air on Friday was airlifted to a hospital. Another firefighter suffered an injury, according to Cal Fire.