Traffic slowing for fire truck results in three-vehicle accident; fire in avocado grove contained to quarter acre

Firefighters and paramedics respond to a three-vehicle accident  at State Route 67 and Highland Valley/Dye Road intersection around 1:45 p.m. Friday. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard
Firefighters and paramedics respond to a three-vehicle accident at State Route 67 and Highland Valley/Dye Road intersection around 1:45 p.m. Friday. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Three vehicles collided on State Route 67 just north of the Dye Road intersection around 1:45 p.m. Friday as traffic slowed for a U.S. Forest Service fire truck heading to a fire, reported California Highway Patrol.

CHP said the forest service  truck was in the southbound lane of Route 67 and was heading to a fire near Highland Valley and Eagles Crest  roads. Traffic in the northbound lane of 67 slowed, but a truck pulling a trailer with hot tubs that was traveling about 50 mph couldn’t stop in time, CHP Officer James Clarke said.

The truck hit a Subaru driven by a five-month pregnant woman from Ramona, and the Subaru hit a minivan driven by a woman in her 50s from Santee, the officer reported. Both women complained of pain and were transported by ambulance to Pomerado Hospital.

The driver of the truck, who was from San Marcos, and his passenger were uninjured, according to CHP.

The fire was in an avocado grove near Highland Valley Road and Sky Valley and was contained to a quarter acre, said Capt. Cesar Nerey with the Mt. Woodson Cal Fire station. The blaze began when the homeowner was clearing out undergrowth with a weed whacker that sparked off a rock, causing the brush to catch fire, he said. No structures were damaged or threatened.

"The only damage was to avocado trees," Nerey said. As in a normal wildland response, air tankers and helicopters performed drops, he said.

With low humidity and dry fuels, Nerey noted that it only takes one spark by a motor blade to start a fire.

"These are fires we're starting to see now that we don't typically see until later July or August," he said.

The captain stressed that residents stay away from weed abatement and mowing in the middle of the day. The best hours, he said, are between 6 and 10 a.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m.

   
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