Chariot Fire threatens homes

UPDATE—Monday July 8, 1:15 p.m.

—The Chariot Fire has grown to 3,000 acres and is 15 percent contained, reports Cal Fire.  The Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) is being used to fight the fire, according to the state agency.

UPDATE—Monday, July 8, 11:10 a.m.

—The Chariot Fire is threatening 120 homes southeast of Julian that have been evacuated, along with several campgrounds, Cal Fire reports.

Nearly 1,200 firefighters are battling the roughly 2,500-acre wildfire that broke out just before 1 p .m. Saturday east of Sunrise Highway, about nine miles southeast of Julian near Chariot Canyon. Cal Fire said the blaze is 20 percent contained and as of 6 a.m. Monday had  reached Sunrise Highway above Cottonwood Canyon.

State Route 79 was closed at Sunrise Highway, Sunrise Highway was closed at Old Highway 80, and the Kenwood Drive onramp to State Route 94 was closed, according to California Highway Patrol.

Cal Fire officials said accessibility is difficult in many areas due to steep rocky terrain, and crews are being shuttled by helicopter to many sections of the fire.

On Sunday night, 20 homes in the area were evacuated with another 100 Monday morning when the evacuation area was increased to cover about three miles along Sunrise Highway, officials reported. Campgrounds that were evacuated are Horse Heaven in the Cleveland National Forest, El Prado, Laguna and Al Bahr Shrine, and the  Sierra Club's Foster Lodge in the Laguna Mountains, according to the fire agency.

Evacuees were directed to an emergency shelter set up by the American Red Cross at Joan MacQueen Middle School in Alpine.

Four minor injuries were reported. In addition to Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, CHP, San Diego County Fire Authority, San Diego County Sheriff's Department, and California State Parks were helping with firefighting and road closures. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Update—Sunday, July 7, 7:10 p.m.—

The Chariot Fire is holding a 2,500 acres and is now 20 percent contained, Cal Fire reports.  There have been four minor injuries to firefighters. The cause of the fire is sunder investigation.

Update—Sunday, July 7, 2 p.m.—

The Chariot Fire has grown to 2,500 acres and is 10 percent contained, Cal Fire reports.  The Horse Heaven, El Prado, Laguna and Al Bahr Shrine Campgrounds have been evacuated.  The Red Cross is setting up an evacuation center at Joan McQueen Middle School in Alpine.

Update, Sunday, July 7—

The fire, called the Chariot Fire, is now 1,400 acres and 10 percent contained, Cal Fire reports this morning.

Saturday, July 6—

Firefighters are working to extinguish a brush fire that today scorched about 500 open acres near Chariot Canyon today, about nine miles southeast of Julian, fire officials said.

The fire broke out about 1 p.m. off county Highway S-2 near the Butterfield Ranch and was headed upslope toward Sunrise Highway at a moderate rate of spread, according to Cal Fire.

No structures were threatened, Cal Fire officials said.

Firefighters had the blaze 10 percent contained by about 5 p.m., according to fire officials.

Sunrise Highway was closed at Old Highway 80, and state Route 79 was closed at Sunrise Highway, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The fire’s cause was under investigation, Cal Fire said.



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