Multiple fires threaten San Diego area in early start to season

Fire Chief: 'Successful Day' Fighting Bernardo Fire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer declared a local State of Emergency after a brush fire tore through the North County Tuesday.

    The declaration will enable the area to receive federal reimbursements for the firefighting efforts, Faulconer said at a news conference Tuesday night.

    As of 7 p.m., the Bernardo Fire had burned 800 acres and was 5 percent surrounded, according to fire officials. See map of fire area

    However, they said the worst is behind them.

    WATCH: Raw Video Shows Bernardo Fire Growth

    [DGO] WATCH: Raw Video Shows Bernardo Fire Growth
    The Bernardo Fire grew exponentially Tuesday in the North County.

    “We believe we have a pretty good handle on it,” San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Javier Mainar said.

    Over 150 firefighters, 100 San Diego police officers and 130 sheriff’s deputies joined forces to protect North County residents from the Bernardo Fire, which started around 11 a.m. in 4S Ranch.

    San Diego County mountains and valleys are under a red flag warning through Wednesday night amid hot, dry and windy conditions.

    “Incredibly wind driven fire like this and we have no structure loss that I’m aware of. We certainly have no loss of life that I’m aware of or injuries that I’m aware of,” Mainar said. “It really is a successful day when you can walk away from something like that in a Santa Ana condition.”

    The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department issued 5,000 evacuation orders via the AlertSanDiego system. Another 2,400 homes were told to be on alert. Officials did not have a concrete number of how many people were evacuated.

    Residents in parts of Rancho Peñasquitos, Torrey Highlands, Santaluz, Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe were evacuated. Around 8:15 p.m., the county’s 211 emergency service tweeted that all evacuations had been lifted.

    At Wednesday’s news conference, Cal Fire Division Chief Kevin Lawson responded to criticism about confusion regarding evacuations early on.

    “Sometimes the reflex time is not as quickly as folks would like it,” Lawson said.

    “By the time it was executed, I didn’t have any concerns with it,” he said.

    “We’ve come a long way indeed since the wildfires of 2003,” Mainar added.

    As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, the fire line was at San Dieguito Road and Via De Sante Fe, according to Rancho Sante Fe Fire Chief Tony Michel.

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