A brush fire destroyed at least three buildings, scorched several acres, and prompted evacuations for residents and ranches in Valley Center Friday afternoon.
Smoke was reported at around 1 p.m. near Miller Lane and Cole Grade Lane. The fire, dubbed the Miller Fire by Cal Fire, grew to 10 acres by 2:30 p.m.
By 3:40 p.m. officials said the forward rate had been stopped at 37 acres. Firefighters reported 100% containment by around 7 p.m. Sunday.
SkyRanger 7 captured hot spots of flames scattered around plots of lands with homes. Smoke was smoldering dangerously close to homes.
Only one house sustained damaged while three outbuildings were destroyed.
Four helicopters, 10 engines, two dozers and two water tenders assisted in fire fighting.
By 10 a.m. Saturday, evacuation orders were lifted for residents along Terrace View Lane, and for all areas west of Cool Valley Highlands and north of Puma Trail, according to Cal Fire.
The San Diego Sheriff's Department sent reverse 911 calls for the emergency evacuations. You can sign up for Alert San Diego to get all the evacuation and warnings directly to your cell phone.
Friday night’s football game between Escondido High School and Valley Center High School was cancelled.
A temporary evacuation center was established at Valley Center Community Center at 28246 Lilac Road. The evacuation center has staff on hand to help with animals.
And an evacuation shelter was set up at Valley Center Middle School at 28102 N. Lake Wohlford Road.
Hard road closures were in place for Terrace View Lane at Cool Valley Road, Wilhite Lane south of Puma Trail, Coyote Run at Rabbit Run, and Cool Valley Highlands Road at Cool Valley Road.
[G] Miller Fire Burns Close to Homes in Valley Center
“Really have that awareness of the most important things you’ll want to grab – your people, your pets, your prescriptions, credit cards, cash, things that you can use if you are evacuated for a little while --and just start to collect those items and think about what is going to be most important, if you did need to leave quickly.” said Emily Cox with the American Red Cross.
Erin Glass who is one of the couple of people who showed up at the Valley Center Community said her house had a close call.
“My husband had taken one of dogs for a walk and said there was a fire behind our neighbor’s house, and I said, ‘Oh my should we go?’ and he said no but I got our four dogs in the car and left, he stayed back,” said Glass. "Luckily the winds were blowing in a different direction away from our house and my husband and house are fine."
NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said winds in the area were gusty and humidity was lower than 10 percent, which could contribute to a challenging firefight.
“Right now is the worst of it. Things will be getting better as we head through the late afternoon hours and especially as we head into the evening,” Parveen said.
The fire started amid a Red Flag Warning for much of Southern California due to dangerous fire-fueling conditions.
The warning went into effect at 5 a.m. Thursday and was scheduled until 5 p.m. Friday. During that time, the combination of gusty winds, hot temperatures and low humidity that make the perfect conditions for wildfires to spark and spread rapidly.
Fire agencies staffed up Thursday to prepare for the hazardous conditions. Cal Fire San Diego brought in an extra air tanker to the Ramona Air Base on Wednesday. The agency added an additional eight engines, four water tenders and a helicopter to help in any firefight that arises.
NBC7 Miller fire pic.twitter.com/JxoGzT0O5S— Rory Devine (@RoryNBCSD) October 25, 2019
Fall is historically one of the most dangerous times of the year for wildfires in California. Seven of the state's 10-most destructive wildfires occurred in October -- many fueled by monster winds, including Santa Ana gusts.
On Oct. 21, 2007, one of the most destructive series of wildfires in San Diego County started with the Witch Creek Fire near Santa Ysabel. In the days that followed, the Harris and Guejito Fires sparked. In total, the fires burned about 228,000 acres and burned more than 2,000 structures. 10 people died.
No other information was available.
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