San Diego, California – A wildfire in the East County that spread about 7,500 acres caused the evacuation of the entire community of Potrero, after destroying four outbuildings and injuring three firefighters. The case is known as the Border Fire.

The fire initiated on Sunday about 11:30 by Route 188 and Route 94 near Tecate, near the U.S. Mexico border. By the afternoon, fueled by dry bush, it had spread to 1,500 acres. On Monday morning, it extended to 1,900 (2.94 square miles), leaving by noon a total of 7,500 acres blackened. Officials stated on Cal Fire that the wildfire remained at five percent containment.

A UC San Diego camera atop Los Pinos Mountain, which is south of Interstate 8 and northeast of the fire, captures smoke rising from the blaze. Credits: UC San Diego/San Diego Union-Tribune

Record-setting temperatures had been warned in the Southwest, including the San Diego County. The triple digits temperature that reached the 104 degrees with humidity of 9 percent left three firefighters injured. Hundreds of firefighters were trying their best to control the situation, with the help of fire-rescue helicopters making water drops, but it was not an easy task because of the conditions.

“The wind, the terrain, the fuel, the heat, the low relative humidity – they are all making it a tough battle out there,” Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The National Weather Service says an excessive heat watch will be in effect for the Southwest until Thursday evening.

On Sunday afternoon, around 75 homes in Potrero were ordered to evacuate, beginning with homes along Emery Road and Plakson Lane. The spread of the fire led to evacuate the entire community of Potrero, where more than 650 people live.

The evacuation orders extended to other nearby areas, including Forest Gate, Canyon City, Star Ranch, Cowboy Ranch and Dog Patch, because of the “extreme fire behavior and increased activity” the region is experiencing. Areas near Campo and Buckman Springs were also evacuated by the residents.

The Red Cross offered shelter for the refugees to spend the Sunday night at Los Coches Creek Middle School, where they could also get food, water, health services or emotional support. The shelter was shut down on Monday afternoon. The Campo-Morena Village Library, located at Highway 94 in Campo, is open for those residents looking to cool off.

Those who had large animals with them could take them to Circle T Ranch on Viejas Grade Road in Descanso or a Border Patrol station on Ribbonwood Road in Boulevard. The San Diego Humane Society reported there were horses taken to these larger shelters.

Power outages were also registered. San Diego Gas & Electric shared through their website that more than 1,000 homes were affected in Potrero and nearby areas Dulzura and Campo. The stated that the service was expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m.

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune