Fire crews rushed to the East County Sunday after a brush fire on Olde Highway 80 burned several structures and left one woman injured.
CHP officials said the fire sparked just before noon in the 13000 block of Olde Highway 80 near the Los Coches exit off Interstate 8.
As an NBC 7 news crew arrived at the scene, smoke could be seen billowing from the impacted area. Viewers told NBC 7 they could also see and smell smoke from their homes in Lakeside and other parts of the East County.
Air tankers made water drops on the blaze as crews from Heartland Fire & Rescue, Cal Fire and other agencies tackled the fire on the ground.
Lakeside Fire Chief Andy Parr said about 10 different agencies helped battle the fire. CHP and Sheriff’s Department officials assisted in providing traffic control, blocking off the area so firefighters could work.
Heartland Fire officials told NBC 7 some structures were threatened by the brush fire. Once crews arrived, they discovered several structures engulfed in flames.
Chief Parr said area contains a mix of commercial and residential structures, including a mobile home park. The area is also surrounded by heavy vegetation, including a highly-flammable, bamboo-like plant called “arundo.”
“Arundo burns very readily once it gets going,” explained Parr.
He says some arundo plants caught fire and the blaze then spread to a nearby mobile home park. From there, several mobile structures caught on fire and were significantly damaged or destroyed.
Chief Parr said one woman sustained serious burns in the blaze and was transported to a local hospital. Her name was not released, and her current condition is unknown.
Within about an hour, firefighters had knocked down the fire and were mopping up hotspots.
Chief Parr says the cause of the fire is under investigation. He says there’s a homeless encampment in the area, and the fire could have originated near that site.
Check back for updates on this developing story.