San Diego

Firefighters Continue to Contain Jennings Fire Near Lakeside

More crews will be out on the Jennings Fire Wednesday to contain and mop up hotspots

A fast-moving 400-acre brush fire that prompted evacuations Tuesday afternoon in San Diego County is now 90 percent contained, Cal Fire officials said.

The Jennings Fire produced a massive amount of smoke above the East County and prompted the closure of Interstate 8 in both directions for several hours.

One lane of eastbound I-8 east at Dunbar Lane will be closed Wednesday because of fire equipment. 

Crews reported the fire is now 90 percent contained as of 6 a.m. Thursday.   

Officials plan to increase containment lines and mop up hot spots throughout the day, Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez said.

Two firefighters were transported to a hospital for evaluation. A third was evaluated at the scene. No details were given on their conditions.

Temperatures, this afternoon, will climb to a very warm 87 degrees, according to NBC 7 Meteorologist Jodi Kodesh. Winds are expected to be light. Humidity levels will drop to about 48 percent, which is average for this time of year.

"While weather conditions are not as bad as they could be, the amount of available fuel and the dry brush is a much bigger concern," Kodesh said. "The grasses dried out in late April, and the brush dried out at the end of June. Any wildfire, from this point on, could be explosive." 

Images: Fire Rapidly Spreads Near Lake Jennings Park Road in Lakeside

Investigators found a piece from a car's exhaust system that they say was responsible for starting the fire where I-8 meets Highway 80. 

"We have determined the cause of the fire is related to carbon particles from a vehicle exhaust, but we do not believe it is the cars that were actually on fire. That's separate from this incident," Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham said Tuesday, referring to several car fires in the area. 

At least five homes were threatened at one point, Mecham said. Strike teams were requested for structure protection along Montana Serena, a road along a ridge south of Interstate 8 and east of Rios Canyon Road.

A mandatory evacuation order was issued for Viewside Lane, Peutz Valley and the upper end of Harbison Canyon in the Hunter Pass area.  All evacuation orders and warnings for the Jennings Fire have been lifted.

Seven air tankers, four helicopters, 43 engines and a little more than 250 personnel were involved in battling the blaze.

Jodi Kodesh's AM Forecast for July 12, 2017

Are you and your family prepared for a brush fire? 

County officials advise residents to download the free emergency smartphone application SDEmergency and follow three key steps. 

GET READY: Do your 100-foot defensible space in advance

GET SET: Have an emergency plan. Pack your car when Santa Anas arrive.

GO: When told to leave, leave.

For updated information on the fire, you can also call 211.

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