What to Know
- As of 12 p.m. Friday, Cal Fire San Diego said all evacuation orders, warnings and road closures in the Valley Fire zone had been lifted.
- As of Friday afternoon, the Valley Fire was holding at 17,665 acres and was 55% contained.
- The Valley Fire has destroyed 30 homes.
All evacuation orders, warnings, and road closures were lifted Friday for those impacted by the Valley Fire in San Diego's East County as crews continued to gain ground in a weeklong fight against the devastating blaze.
Cal Fire San Diego said all evacuation orders in the fire zone were lifted as of 12 p.m. Friday.
The Cleveland National Forest could remain under emergency closure, Cal Fire said, until conditions improved.
As of Friday afternoon, the Valley Fire was holding at 17,665 acres and was 55% contained due to dry fuels and higher temperatures that resulted in minimal fire growth, Cal Fire said.
Since sparking on the afternoon of Sept. 5 at Spirit Trail and Japatul Valley Road, the wildfire had destroyed 30 homes and 31 outbuildings and elicited a response that included 854 fire personnel.
Firefighters remained focused on the western and northern parts of the fire zone where hot spots were being closely monitored, Cal Fire said.
Cal Fire said Friday the fire danger had not passed just yet.
“Dry fuels and a dry airmass could potentially result in fire growth on portions of the fire,” the agency noted in its latest Valley Fire report. “Ground crews continue to construct and strengthen hand and dozer lines and are focused on mopping up hot spots and providing defense to structures that remain threatened.”
Cal Fire said it would continue to mitigate fire growth with the support of aerial resources.
“For each day the fire stays within its current perimeter, the threat to the adjacent communities continues to diminish,” Cal Fire added.
As many residents were able to return to their homes, Cal Fire closed a temporary evacuation center at El Capitan High School in Lakeside. Cal Fire said emergency lodging was still available for victims of the Valley Fire via the American Red Cross.
Cal Fire said it expected calmer winds and less severe humidity to limit fire behavior overnight Thursday but the threat of dry, warm weather will remain a factor throughout the rest of the firefight.
"A high-pressure system will slowly build over Southern California through the weekend and will be accompanied by gradually warming temperatures," Cal Fire said.
NBC 7 meteorologist Sheena Parveen said Friday that the weekend would still be warm but slightly cooler in some inland areas. She said the sky in some parts of the county would likely still be hazy and smoky from the Valley Fire. Both Parveen and the National Weather Service expect another weather warm-up next week in San Diego County.
Cal Fire said strong air support over the past few days -- including the help of military aircraft -- helped keep the Valley Fire from growing and pushing into more populated areas to the west.
“With outstanding work from your firefighters, we were able to hold this west side in essence to the same footprint that it was in the day before -- nothing short of amazing that we were able to hold the fire there," said Operations Section Chief Mike Milkovich.
The cause of the Valley Fire is under investigation. Cal Fire reported two injuries linked to the fire but no further details were given.
The Valley Fire sparked on Sept. 5 during Labor Day weekend, as sweltering heat swept San Diego County. The dry, hot weather created fire-prone conditions and prompted a red flag fire warning. At one point, it forced as many as 1,420 people to evacuate their homes. Within two days, the Valley Fire had exploded to more than 10,000 acres.
Things to keep in mind in case of a disaster.
All evacuation orders and warnings were lifted Friday. The final communities allowed to repopulate were:
- Lyons Valley Road east of Barrett Lake Rd
- Forest Park Road and all roads connecting to Forest Park Rd
- Rudnick Drive east of Forest Park Road
As of 12 p.m. Friday, the SDSO and Cal Fire said all road closures in the Valley Fire zone had been lifted. This included the final set of closures here:
- Westbound Japatul Road at Lyons Valley Road
- Eastbound Japatul Road at Hidden Glen Road
- Eastbound Sloan Canyon Road at Sloan Canyon Road (Forest Route 16SD1)
- Eastbound Lawson Valley Road at Wood Valley Trail
- Eastbound Rudnick Drive at Forest Park Road
- Eastbound Skyline Truck Trail at Hilary Drive
- Eastbound Lyons Valley Road at Skyline Truck Trail (Honey Spring Road)
- Southbound Lyons Valley Road at Horse Thief Trailhead
- Northbound Lyons Valley Road at Lawson Peak Trailhead
- Westbound Morena Stokes Valley Road (Corral Canyon) at Buckman Springs Road
Meanwhile, as communities in the fire zone are repopulated, some roads in the fire zone may still be open to residents only, so ID and proof of residency may be required to get into those areas.
Find tips on how to safely return home after a wildfire here.
The Valley Fire caused outages for some customers in the fire zone throughout the week. This includes some 1,300 customers who remained without power Wednesday night in parts of Dulzura, Dehesa, Alpine, Lyons Valley, Barrett Lake, and Rancho Palo Verde, where San Diego Gas & Electric said the fire had damaged equipment.
All but 8 customers had their power restored by Friday.
Over the course of the fire, some customers in the west Descanso, Viejas, and Boulder Creek areas, had their power shut off due to "unsafe conditions in the area," but power has since been restored.
In anticipation of Santa Ana winds that peaked Wednesday, SDG&E notified more than 16,000 backcountry residents of possible public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). PSPS's are a last resort for the utility when trying to reduce fire risk during weather events.
Nearly 50 people had their power shut off Tuesday evening due to gusty winds. The power was restored by Wednesday morning.
SDG&E urges anyone who has received a PSPS warning to activate their emergency preparedness plans.
San Diego County has established a local assistance resource center for victims of the Valley Fire at the Rancho San Diego Library located at 15555 Via Rancho San Diego Rd.
The goal is to provide a one-stop-shop for everything that those affected by the wildfire may need -- from the American Red Cross to the California Dept. of Insurance.
Some of the services county departments will provide include information about people’s homes, properties and permits; emergency temporary occupancy and power permits; general guidance about rebuilding; housing assistance; connection to crisis counseling; CalFresh (food stamp) cards; vital records; help for older adults and people with disabilities; health screenings and first aid.
The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, and Sunday, Sept. 13. It'll also be open on Monday, Sept. 14, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The county also established a recovery hotline and email to help residents who have been impacted by the Valley Fire. To contact the recovery hotline by phone, call (858) 715-2200 or email the hotline at ValleyFireRecovery@sdcounty.ca.gov.
The hotline will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and this upcoming weekend when employees answer phone calls and incoming emails.
After this weekend, emails and phone calls will be answered Monday through Friday, according to the county.
San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said all residents should sign up for emergency alerts, either through the AlertSanDiego app or for text or call alerts from the county Office of Emergency Services, and keep their phones close by and charged. If the time comes for mandatory evacuations, sheriff's deputies will go door-to-door to alert residents as well.
If you are interested in helping residents who have been affected by the Valley Fire, click here.