Another brush fire sent San Diego firefighters to the East County Wednesday amid a very long, difficult day of battling raging wildfires in the North County.
Officials said this latest blaze sparked at Olde Highway 80 and Aurora Drive at around 5:10 p.m. near Lakeside. Aerial shots of the fire showed heavy flames engulfing a hillside between Rattlesnake Mountain and Lake Jennings Park Road.
As of 10 p.m., the blaze had burned about 17 acres. Firefighters said they had the fire under control, but would remain on scene at least through midnight monitoring hot spots and potential flare-up zones.
The evacuation notice for the Lakeside Fire near Aurora Drive and I-8 Business has also been lifted and a temporary evacuation site at El Capitan High School was now closed.
The AlertSanDiego message initially went out to more than 1,300 phone numbers, county officials said.
Officials said more than 1,350 homes and businesses had received reverse 911 calls urging residents to evacuate to a safe location Wednesday afternoon. This included evacuation calls to residents in the Wintergardens area, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. About 200 of those residents were evacuated from their mobile homes.
Lakeside resident Gina Dinwiddie was among the evacuees. She lost power in her mobile home and, soon enough, heard helicopters and fire engines in her neighborhood. Minutes later, a deputy ordered her to evacuate her home.
As she walked outside, she saw the fire creeping up a nearby hillside. She didn't have much time to react.
“I was concerned. We have valuables – we didn’t have time to pack up or anything,” said Dinwiddie. “I was really scared. I didn’t know what I would lose, you know?”
Heartland Fire & Rescue said some structures were threatened by the fire, as the flames inched toward homes. However, as of 7 p.m., no homes had been damaged and no injuries had been reported.
Olde Highway 80, also known as Business Interstate 8, was temporarily closed between Las Coches Road and Main Street as crews continued to work through the evening.
At 7:45 p.m., the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said evacuated residents were now being allowed to return to their homes. The temporary evacuation site at El Capital High School was also being closed for the day.
The Lakeside Unified School District announced schools would be closed Thursday due to the fires. Likewise, many schools across the county are closed. For a full list of school closures, click here.
No further details were immediately available. Check back for updates.
Click here for a map of the wildfires burning across San Diego County.
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