Residents near the fast-moving Border Fire, which has consumed more than 7,500 acres in less than two days, described the toll and turmoil of evacuating as flames spread.
Evacuee Mary Hall told NBC 7 she was working at the library when Border Patrol told her to evacuate.
“As we were leaving Potrero, directly across the library we could see the flames starting to come over that hill,” Hall said. “I didn't think it could get over to my house but when I saw those flames coming over that hill...I mean they could go anywhere from there.”
The fire began Sunday morning and had grown to 7,500 acres by Monday with five percent containment.
Mandatory evacuation orders issued Sunday afternoon for the City of Potrero still stand.
[G] Border Fire Scorches 7,609 Acres East of San Diego
Cal Fire officials issued additional evacuations for Forest Gate, Star Ranch, Cowboy Ranch, Dog Patch and Canyon City due to extreme fire behavior and activity. The communities are east of Potrero and west of Campo.
Another resident said he spent six days at an evacuation center in 2007 during a wildfire but he hopes it wouldn’t be as long this time.
“As we came out of Potrero, there was fire on both sides of the road. So I guess it was a good thing we got out when we did,” Andy Lindsay said.
Some people left their homes to get away from the smoke but had not evacuated Monday.
“The smoke is what gets to you,” Sid Lehman said. He told NBC 7 they loaded up their vehicles and left Monday morning when the wind from the fire picked up.
He said he will have a lot of cleanup to do when they can get back but he’s hoping his house will be okay.
“We have our toiletries, our medications, family photos,” said Pat Lehman. “It’s just enough to keep us through in case they kick us out for a while.”
“We’re not evacuating. We’re just coming down here to get out of the smoke. The fire is on the other side of the fence,” resident Duane Faulhaber said.
But Faulhaber said it's not about saving his propery or the money.
"Lives [are] what's important," he said.
There is an advisory evacuation in place for Lake Morena. Officials have also issued an evacuation advisory near Campo and Buckman Springs.
Evacuating residents can make their way to Golden Acorn Casino at 1800 Golden Acorn Way. The spot has been set up as a temporary evacuation point. It is not a shelter. An evacuation advisory is voluntary.