September 6, 2011 (Spring Valley)—Two fires briefly threatened homes this evening in Spring Valley. A careless cigarette has been blamed for one blaze, while the other appears to be natural in cause, according to Leonard Villareal, spokesman for the San Miguel Fire District.
Lightning is the suspected cause of a small wildfire reported just before 5:30 p.m in the Millar Ranch area of Spring Valley. The Fire was kept to less than a quarter acre but did threaten one structure for a short time.
Investigators believe the lightning may have hit a wood utility pole earlier in the day, but because of the rain, the strike point smoldered until the pole began to dry out. From morning to evening, the temperature jumped up more than 20 degrees.
A water dropping helicopter was called in, but because the flames were under utility lines, it could not be used. No injuries were reported.
Both San Miguel Firefighters and CAL FIRE battled the flames under a Unified Command. In total about 30 Firefighters responded.
There was so much energy at the suspected “strike point” the pole continued to smolder for hours after the forward progression of the fire was stopped.
A second wild fire was reported at about 6:30 p.m., again in Spring Valley, at Broadway and Polaris. This grass fire was kept to a half acre, but did threaten 15 homes. The dry grass and a steep slope allowed the flames to move quickly towards structures, however no homes were damaged.
Crews from La Mesa, Lemon Grove and San Diego provided mutual aid. The cause of the Broadway fire is “discarded smoking material”, apparently a cigarette flicked into the grass. A security camera in a nearby building may have caught the careless act. If possible the San Miguel Fire District will pursue cost recovery.