Ramona sites serve as shelters for pets evacuated from Chariot Fire

A sky crane fire helicopter re-loads near the control tower of Ramona Airport as a Cal Fire air tanker approaches the runway.Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard
A sky crane fire helicopter re-loads near the control tower of Ramona Airport as a Cal Fire air tanker approaches the runway.Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Airport stays busy with firefighting aircraft

Two Ramona locations are serving as shelters for animals evacuated from the Chariot Fire, which is east of Sunrise Highway and southeast of Julian.

San Diego County Animal Services has established a temporary evacuation point for large animals at the International Equestrian Center at 16911 Gunn Stage Road in San Diego Country Estates. Evacuees can bring their animals to the center but must stay and tend to them. No one is manning the center and no accommodations are available for people. Animals cannot be dropped off, the county said.

Any animals evacuated by Animal Services will be taken to Creek Hollow Ranch at 25279 Creek Hollow Road. Anyone who believes their pet was evacuated can call Animal Services at 619-236-2341.

More evacuations were reported Monday afternoon when the fire grew to 3,000 acres.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department sent out an emergency alert call shortly after 2 p.m. Monday to 115 residences and 60 businesses, stating the wind is blowing the fire towards the Laguna Townsite, and to evacuate to the Joan MacQueen Middle School in Alpine.

Authorities cleared people out of 20 residences potentially in the path of the flames Sunday night and from 100 other residences Monday morning when the evacuation zone was widened to cover about three miles along Sunrise Highway.

In addition to backcountry homes, several campgrounds were also evacuated: Horse Heaven in the Cleveland National Forest, Al Bahr Shrine, El Prado and Laguna, and Sierra Club’s Foster Lodge. No structural damage had been reported as of Monday afternoon.

The blaze, which erupted for unknown reasons shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday east of Sunrise Highway in the Chariot Mountain area, was about 15 percent contained early Monday afternoon, reported Cal Fire.

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Cal Fire air tankers re-fuel at the Ramona Air Attack Base at Ramona Airport Monday afternoon. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

About 1,170 firefighters were working the lines by ground and air — using the Ramona Air Attack Base at Ramona Airport — and included personnel who had to be flown in by helicopter due to the steep and remote nature of the burn site.

California Highway Patrol closed State Route 79 at Sunrise Highway and blocked off the latter roadway at Old Highway 80.

   
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