CHIHUAHUA VALLEY (CNS) - Heavy rain from a serendipitous thunderstorm assisted firefighters at a wildfire that had scorched about 1,900 acres northeast of Palomar Mountain, and crews expected to fully contain it Sunday.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler said flash flooding was reported Saturday afternoon in Chihuahua Valley, a remote canyon northeast of Palomar Mountain where more than 880 men and women had toiled to fight the fire in 100-degree-plus heat until the rain arrived.
Evacuation requests were lifted Saturday evening for about 200 ranches and cabins in the valley, as the blaze was 80 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.
The monsoon storms that hit northeast San Diego County and western Riverside County were a double-edged sword, as lightning sparked several small lightning-caused fires Saturday. Three small fires were reported in the Palomar Mountains and two in the Cuyamaca Mountains, although most were just a single tree on fire, according to a statement from Cal Fire spokeswoman Roxanne Provaznik.
A dry lightning strike sparked the biggest blaze at about 1 p.m. Thursday near Chihuahua Valley Road and state Route 79, Cal Fire said. About six hours later, authorities began advising residents in the immediate area to pack up and leave their homes as a precaution.
No structures were reported damaged, but the cost to suppress the fire was estimated at $1.5 million, according to Cal Fire.
A firefighter who got overheated in 103 degree air on Friday was airlifted to a hospital. Another firefighter sustained an injury as well, according to Cal Fire.
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CHIHUAHUA VALLEY (CNS) - Ground and air crews labored amid oppressive humidity and triple-digit heat Friday to subdue a wildfire that has blackened more than 900 acres and prompted evacuations in back-country territory northeast of Palomar Mountain.
Lightning sparked the blaze about 1 p.m. Thursday off Chihuahua Valley Road, east of State Route 79, authorities reported.
Personnel from local, state and federal agencies worked through the afternoon and overnight to get lines around the fast-moving flames.
As of late Friday morning, the burn area remained only 5 percent contained, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler said. No structural damage had been reported.
Firefighters were battling the blaze, dubbed the Chihuahua Fire, amid muggy conditions and temperatures reaching 103 degrees, according to Schuler.
About 7:30 p.m. Thursday, authorities began advising residents in the immediate area to pack up and leave their homes as a precaution. Overnight, so-called "mandatory" evacuation orders -- which technically cannot be enforced in California -- went out to about 200 households.
The American Red Cross opened up a shelter for evacuees at Warner Springs High School.
Deputies also planned to clear everyone out of Lost Valley Boy Scout Camp on Chihuahua Valley Road this afternoon as a safety measure, sheriff's Lt. Paul Robbins said.