By Miriam Raftery
May 30, 2019 (Dulzura) – Three wildfires collectively named the #94Fire broke out late this afternoon on State Route 94 between Otay Lakes Rd. and Freezer Rd. in Dulzura. The fires forced closure of the highway for several hours, causing severe traffic jams as traffic slowed to a crawl. The route is now reopened, Caltrans reports.
Cal Fire will remain on scene overnight at the largest fire near Gasoline Curve, which burned over 30 acres and is now 50% contained. The other two fires have both been 100% contained. One burned an acre and the other scorched a third of an acre.
The blazes heighten concerns among residents about a proposed housing development at nearby Proctor Ranch which could result in an estimated 4,000 new residents further clogging evacuation routes.
The Jamul-Dulzura area is already ranked by Cal Fire as among the 1% worst communities in the state for evacuation during a wildfire due to lack of adequate evacuation routes. By contrast, Paradise, California, which was leveled by a firestorm last year and killed over 80 people, was ranked among the worst 5%--so Jamul/Dulzura is even more dangerous.
Highway 94 has frequently been shut down for several hours or more in recent years due to motor vehicle accidents, flooding, and relatively small fires.
The area was burned severely during the Harris Fire, part of the 2007 firestorms that ravaged San Diego County—and that was before a casino and new border crossing were added, with the prospect of a major housing development amid the chaparral terrain, if approved, poised to heighten risks of a new wildfire turning deadly if residents are unable to escape the flames.