7,500 ACRES CONSUMED BY BORDER FIRE; 5%CONTAINED

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By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Sparks across roadway driving through the Border Fire, by Richard Edwords

New fires are burning in Mexico near the border

June 20,2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The Border Fire has swelled to 7,500 acres and is still only 5% contained, Cal Fire announced this evening, adding,  “Triple digit temperatures and single digit humidity is creating extreme fire behavior and increased activity is being experienced.”

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for Potrero,Forest Gate, Star Ranch, Cowboy Ranch. Dog Patch and Canyon City communities.  An overnight evacuation shelter is set up at Los Coches Creek Middle school at 9669 Dunbar Lane in El Cajon.

Two new fires, possibly ignited by sparks from the Border Fire, are now burning in Mexico within a couple of miles from the international border south of the Border Fire conflagration.

Jan Hedlun in Potrero warns that people who did not evacuate when instructed by authorities are now facing restrictions. “Once you leave they won't let you return and many of us have livestock or animals we're tending,”she says.”My well meter has melted so no water at the house but friends dropped off a bunch of water. The worst of times brings out the best in people!”

Some residents are without cell phone and land line services in the area and power outages have also left some intermittently unable to communication.  Several dozen still without power in the Potrero and LakeMorena areas should not expect to have power restored until midnight on June 22,according to the SDG&E website; roads in those areas are currently shut down due to the fire.

Resources statewide may be strained by two new fires today in a national forest in Los Angeles, as well as a flare up of the large fire in Santa Barbara.

Some air tankers were delayed reaching the Border Fire, flying out of San Bernadino because the U.S. Forest Service is reportedly still refusing to allow its tankers to land at the Ramona Air Base, even though Cal Fire is landing identical planes there, Supervisor Jacob posted on her Facebook page.

Resources have been dispatched from across the state along with an Interagency Management Team to aid in the battle to halt the Border Fire, which started yesterday at 11:05 a.m. near state routes 94 and 188.

Firefighters are battling the blaze amid intense heat and low humidity with a red flag warning in effect and brisk winds – the worst possible combination.

“My thermometer was reading 114,” Nadin Abbott with Reporting San Diego told East County Magazine.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries.  Four outbuilding have burned.

Highway 94 is closed in the area.  The fire is also impacting Hauser Mountain Wilderness area and threatening the Pacific Coast Trail near Campo.

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