Capt. Mark Miller of CAL Fire talks to NBC 7 reporter Rory Devine about the evacuation process of the Banner Fire, which has engulfed more than 2,500 acres in 24 hours.
The Banner Fire, which began around 2:15 p.m. on May 24, has been fully contained, according to CAL Fire.
The flames started off Banner Grade in Cigarette Hill spread rapidly toward Granite Peak.
"The fire quickly began growing," Cal Fire Chief Nick Schuler said after the fire was reported. "The fire does have a west wind on it, which means it’s burning towards the east towards the community of Shelter Valley."
As of noon on Tuesday, the Banner Fire had been fully contained. During the blaze, it scorched more than 5,300 acres east of Julian.
Overnight humidity during the weekend slowed the fire's spread with minimal flame lengths. Firefighters continued to directly attack the fire's perimeter, using helicopter support since the land around the fire was somewhat inaccessible.
After an initial threat to the community of Shelter Valley, the brush fire no longer threatened structures or homes. Instead, it burned toward open land to the east.
Evacuations were ordered for 100 homes when the fire first began Thursday. Approximately 300 people were told to gather what they could and evacuate. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department handled evacuations and Animal Control handled animal evacuations.
Later that night, Cal FIRE reported Shelter Valley residents could safely return to their homes.
Friday afternoon, residents in the Stagecoach Trails RV Park between Monument Rd. and SR-78 were given a mandatory evacuation order. By 6 p.m. that same evening, the order was lifted and those residents were allowed to return home.
Throughout the fire, a temporary evacuation point for nearby residents was established by Red Cross at Borrego Springs High School at 2281 Diegueno Drive. It opened and closed for local evacuees as needed.
County Route S-2 between Monument Rd. and SR-78 were closed Friday afternoon as the fire shifted east. The stretch of SR-78 later reopened.
The Banner Fire burned near the location of last year's Great Fire, which scorched more than 2,000 acres.
On Friday, Cal FIRE said firefighters still had 12 miles of fireline to construct.
At that point, the fire was burning primarily in grass and light brush.
Cal FIRE said “strong, erratic winds” were driving the spread of the fire, while poor road access and steep, rugged terrain hampered firefighting efforts.
Cal FIRE said resources were being deployed to prepare for a burning operation along the Rodriguez Canyon Truck Trail.
Cooperating agencies aiding the containment efforts include San Diego Fire Authority, US Forest Service, BLM, California State Parks, CDCR, San Diego Fire Department and other local fire agencies.
In the end, authorities said the estimated cost to suppress the Banner Fire was $4 million.
No structures were burned. At least four people suffered minor injuries related to the fire.
CAL Fire said the cause of the fire was related to equipment use of some kind. The investigation is still ongoing.
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