By Miriam Raftery
September 24, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Cal Fire reports this morning that an estimated 20 homes have been destroyed and another 10 damaged, along with approximately 15 outbuildings. The fire is now 2,000 acres and 10% contained.
Homes lost are all in the Tierra del Sol area, Mike Mohler of Cal Fire told ECM. “We’re going to go out right now to compile a list of the addresses,” he said when asked for details on locations of residences that burned.
“Tierra del Sol and Jewel Valley remain evacuated and are still threatened,” Roxanne Provaznik of Cal Fire said in a release issued at 6:50 am. Highway 94 is closed between the Shockey Truck Trail east to Jewel Valley.
Mohler said firefighters made good progress on the fire over night. “We were able to lay down a lot of line and it actually went very well. Our biggest fear is that the wind that fueled this yesterday will come back in.”
The fire remains south of Highway 94 and north of the border. The fire, which started yesterday at Shockey Truck Trail has burned approximately five to six miles from the point of origin at Shockey Truck Trail.
The Communities of Boulevard, Tierra del Sol, and Jewel Valley remain evacuated. Currently the fire is skirting around Boulevard but that could change, Mohler said. He added that hotspots remain in the burned areas, where the threat continues. He indicated that he was in Jewel Valley and the situation there has improved. Jacumba remains on an advisory but mandatory evacuation notices have not been given for the high desert community near the county line, he added.
“We have over 500 firefighters including some from Fresno who came in overnight, and we have also increased our air resources,” Mohler told ECM. Asked if military aircraft have been called in, he said no because “We have enough air resources” and military is generally requested only when there are multiple fires our fires fueled by Santa Ana winds.
Earlier Provaznik reported 366 firefighters along with 57 engines, 18 fire crews, 5 bulldozers, 9 water tenders, 6 helicopters, 1 helitanker, 4 airtankers battling the blaze, though resources continue to arrive.
Mohler said the Southwest Powerlink appeared a safe distance from flames for the moment.
All schools will be closed today in the Mountain Empire High School District. Mountain Empire High School is serving as an evacuation center for people and animals.
If you have large animals, bring them to the evacuation center, or if you need help to evacuate livestock or other large animals, Animal Control will assist you. Call (619) 236-2341. Animal Control officers are also patrolling the fire areas searching for animals that may be in need of help, he added.
Mohler offered this advice for those in the vicinity of the fire. “Just make sure you are prepared – if you live in Santa Ana season, have that evacuation plan set up just in case.”