Old Highway 80 Fire Prompts Evacuations

The fire, dubbed "Old Fire," threatens 200 homes according to Cal Fire

By Monica Garske, Diana Guevara, R. Stickney and Lauren Steussy
|  Monday, Jun 18, 2012  |  Updated 8:56 PM PDT
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Red Flag Warning in Effect

Cal Fire

The estimated burn area in a map provided by Cal Fire.

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High Winds Remain Challenge in Old Fire

With the threat of increasing winds and red flag conditions, firefighters are battling the Old Fire burning off Old Highway 80.

High Winds in Campo Present Challenge for Firefighters

High temperatures and increasing wind speeds are among the challenges facing firefighters near Campo, where a brush fire has spread to 900 acres as of Monday afternoon.
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With the threat of increasing winds and red flag conditions, firefighters are battling the "Old Fire" burning off Old Highway 80.

One structure and travel trailer burned in the fire that began near Miller Valley Road in the rural area northeast of Campo around 12:20 p.m. Sunday.

So far, more than 900 acres have burned and about 200 homes in the Live Oak Springs area are under voluntary evacuation.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, the acreage and containment of the fire remained the same. Full control of the fire is expected on Wednesday.

The cost of fighting the fire is estimated to be about $1.15 million.

Monday afternoon, Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler said winds were working in their favor, driving the fire back on to burn areas. Still, crews were anticipating stronger winds Monday night, with the Red Flag warning peak between 5 - 8 p.m.  Watch forecast here

One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion.

Residents in the Live Oak Springs Mobile Home Park were advised to leave their homes as a precaution Monday.

The Mountain Empire Unified School District announced there will be no school for Clover Flat and Jacumba Elementary Monday. Also, there will be no buses running east of La Posta Road.

The Sunrise Powerlink is threatened since the fire is affecting Live Oaks, Boulevard, and Church Road according to Piranio. However, officials with the utility say the fire is no longer considered a threat to the newly-installed system.

“We’ve been fighting this fire aggressively overnight,” said Tom Piranio with Cal Fire. “Our biggest concern with winds increasing, the humidity dropping, we want to get a handle on this fire before the potential for growth is there.

A major wind change occurred after the fire broke out, sending the flames in a western direction. By Sunday night, the fire was burning northwest of Tierra Del Sol with winds moving at about 20 miles per hour.

“I’ve never experienced a disaster quite like this one,” said David Baggerly of the Golden Acorn Casino.

“It took about an hour and a half to make it down the hill and I’m watching people literally lose their homes.

Mandatory evacuations were called for Sunday near the area of Old Highway 80 and Tierra Del Sol along with those people living along Church Road. Those evacuation orders are not voluntary.

Old Highway 80 at Tierra Del Sol Rd. was closed. Crestwood to Live Oak Springs Rd. was also closed.

The Golden Acorn Casino was designated as the evacuation center. Nearly 50 deputies were on scene Sunday night to assist firefighters and help with evacuations if necessary.

"We are evacuating property for safety. One concern is obviously we're a business and we want to be able to help. But we needed to clear people," said Baggerly. "We do have about 40 people still here in the casino. But everything's under control here. They actually chose to stay."

The cause of the fire is still unknown at this time.


View Old Fire June 2012 in a larger map

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