Santee Brush Fire Burns Close to Homes

One resident was helping his neighbor when they saw his fence on fire

By Michelle Wayland
|  Sunday, Sep 26, 2010  |  Updated 10:19 AM PDT
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A fire broke out in <a title=Santee on Saturday, for some residents this was the third time a fire threatened their homes." />

A fire broke out in Santee on Saturday, for some residents this was the third time a fire threatened their homes.

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Firefighters are still on alert on Sunday, the county is in the midst of a heat wave and Sunday and Monday are slated to be the hottest, which means the next couple of days could be very busy for local firefighters.

Firefighters battled a brush fire that burned right up to the fence line of some homes in Santee, on Saturday.

The fire was burning in the 9200 block of Lake Canyon Blvd and Carlton Hill Rd.  It had burned about 40 acres by 6 p.m.

Firefighters called for “structure protection” but did not evacuate any residents.

"We had already cleared about 100 ft. of brush near the homes and we had ample resources to protect them," said Division Chief Brett Eldridge. 

Firefighters were positioned near homes around the perimeter of the fire. Helicopters and tankers attacked the fire with multiple drops. 

"It took about two hours to get this under control," said Eldridge. 

By 6:00 pm, smoke was no longer visible in the air.

Theresa Farr says her husband was helping gut their neighbor’s bathroom when they realized what was happening.

“They actually saw his fence on fire,” Farr said. “We all just started hosing down and I called 911.”

The winds apparently pushed the fire back into the canyon.

“This is the third time since I bought this house, that it came to my fence line,” Farr said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Firefighters have been warning for several days about high fire danger. Cal Fire was prepared for a busy weekend. They boosted staff and put extra equipment on standby.

The heat wave and warning of high fire danger this weekend had residents like Debbie Minich on alert. She was on vacation in October 2007 when the raging firestorm devoured her home.

“Our house burned Tuesday so we lost everything,” Minich said.

Every year when the Santa Ana's pick up, she stays put.

“We will not leave to go on vacation or we make sure we are home,” Minich said.

With higher temperatures and stronger winds this weekend, Cal Fire isn’t taking any chances either.

“Right now the predictions for the end of September, mid October, late October are strong Santa Ana conditions,” said Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler.

Firefighters are reminding San Diegans to take precautions.

“Don’t be complacent. Have that defensible space, have an evacuation plan. You might not see a fire now but it could be on top of you tomorrow,” Capt. Mohler said.

Cal Fire is also reminding residents to stay hydrated this weekend. Drink plenty of water and wear light clothing.

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