Fighting Cowboy Fire Cost Almost $2M

Illegal immigrants in distress allegedly sparked the fire

By Michelle Wayland
|  Monday, Sep 6, 2010  |  Updated 6:54 AM PDT
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The fire is burning between the communities of <a title=Campo and Potrero." />

The fire is burning between the communities of Campo and Potrero.

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Firefighters Battle Wall of Flames

A brush fire burning near the Pacific Crest Trail charred 300 acres on Wednesday, according to Cal Fire. Source: Firefighters Battle Wall of Flames | NBC San Diego
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Firefighters have nearly surrounded a wildfire that charred 827 acres of tall brush that hadn’t burned in 100 years.

“The cost to date of fighting the fire is $1,879,280,” said Roxanne Provaznik, a spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Two illegal immigrants who were in distress allegedly started the fire.

“They called C4, which is Mexico’s emergency dispatch system and advised them that they had been lost for two days, were stranded, dehydrated, and were going to light a signal fire to attempt to get some help,” said Cal Fire spokesperson Roxanne Provaznik.

Border Patrol agents worked with Cal Fire to look for the individuals, but were unsuccessful.

“There was evidence near the area of origin, of illegal aliens traveling through that area, which supports this report,” said Provaznik.

A spokesperson from Cal Fire said it's frustrating to know the blaze could have been prevented, but now they're just focused on putting it out.
“We have a significant amount of manpower that was put towards this fire and they have done a great job. Were they thinking of this when they were concerned with their lives? Probably not,” said Tom Piranio.

The fire was 84 percent contained Sunday morning. Full containment is expected Sunday evening.

The fire between Campo and Potrero is burning in 8- to 10-foot brush that hasn't burned in 100 years. It started around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. There have been no structures lost and no injuries.

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