Evacuations Lifted for 7,609-Acre Border Fire, 60 Percent Contained

The fire began around 11 a.m. Sunday in Potrero, a community located approximately 42 miles southeast of downtown San Diego

All evacuation orders have been lifted for the 7,609-acre Border Fire burning in a rugged part of southeast San Diego County, Cal Fire officials confirmed.

As of 6 p.m. on Friday, Cal Fire officials reported that the blaze was 60 percent contained. The fire has destroyed five homes and 11 other buildings over its six-day span.

Friday morning, the fire had been at 45 percent containment.

The Border Fire began Sunday around 11 a.m. near the border city of Potrero, which is located approximately 42 miles southeast of downtown San Diego. Fueled by relentless heat and dry conditions, the blaze prompted evacuations of 700 residents and closed many roads in the area for several days.

Los Coches Creek Middle School, located at 9669 Dunbar Ln. in unincorporated El Cajon, served as an evacuation shelter for residents this week.

By 6 p.m. Thursday, however, all evacuation orders and warnings for residents had been lifted, Cal Fire officials said. As Potrero was repopulated, San Diego Gas & Electric continued to make repairs to many downed power lines and poles in the community.

Though evacuation orders are no longer in effect, Cal Fire said residents are asked to listen and follow the direction of the all emergency personnel.

The latest numbers from Cal Fire show 1,937 fire personnel are working on the Border Fire. Currently, crews are using 175 engines, 13 helicopters, 2 air tankers, 24 water tenders and 11 bulldozers in the fire fight. The Border Fire has threatened about 200 structures in the rural community.

On Friday morning, Cal Fire officials said firefighters had been able to build additional control lines along the perimeter of the Border Fire, increasing the containment.

If those control lines are comprimised, the Border Fire could pontentially threaten the communities of Lake Morena, Campo and recreational areas. Cal Fire said the blaze continues to move north and northeast and firefighters continues to strengthen and secure those containment lines.

On Thursday, Cal Fire said the acreage increase of the Border Fire was being held at a minimum due to hard work of firefighters and more favorable weather conditions. 

The Border Fire has proven especially challenging due to the steep, rugged terrain which is difficult to access, and extremely dry vegetation in the area created by years of drought in California. Cal Fire described the conditions as fueling “erratic fire behavior.”

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO), the following communities are no longer under mandatory evacuation orders:

  • Forrest Gate
  • Star Ranch
  • Cowboy Ranch
  • Dog Patch
  • Canyon City
  • Lake Morena
  • Big Potrero Truck Trail/Hauser Creek Road to the south
  • West of Buckman Springs Road from Lake Morena Drive to Morena Valley Road
  • Morena Stokes Valley Road (Corral Canyon) at Sky Valley Ranch (Sky Valley Road) to the west and Morena/Stokes Valley Road (Corral Canyon) at Buckman Springs Road to the east

There will be three traffic control points restricting access to the fire burn area.

One spot will be located approximately 1.5 miles north of Highway 94 on Harris Ranch Road, allowing access to all residential locations on Harris Ranch Road.

Another closure will be at Vollmer Road, approximately a quarter-mile north of Highway 94 at the Y intersection.

A third closure will be at Martin Road approximately a quarter-mile west of Highway 94 at the Y intersection. This closure will allow access to residents located on Martin Road.

For now, the Pacific Crest Trail remains closed due to the fire.

Updates on the fire and emergency evacuation shelters can be found here. Potrero residents can also call 211 for information on the Border Fire.

Many Potrero residents own livestock and the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services has been on-hand to help evacuate livestock and pets in the Border Fire area. Animal Services said sheep, chickens, dogs and even 25 mini donkeys have been safely removed from the path of the fire over the past several days.

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