Chariot Blaze Threatens Some Campgrounds
Firefighters labored for a third straight day Monday to subdue a wildfire that has blackened about 3,000 acres in rugged terrain southeast of Julian, forcing the evacuation of scores of back-country homes along with several campgrounds, KUSI-TV, San Diego, reported.
The blaze erupted for unknown reasons shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday (July 6) east of Sunrise Highway in the Chariot Mountain area and was about 15% contained as of Monday afternoon, authorities reported.
Cal Fire received several reports today of structural damage caused by the flames but were unable to immediately confirm them, said Mike Mohler, a captain with the state agency.
Four crew members have suffered minor injuries — three of them heat- related, the other a facial cut — while battling the so-called Chariot Fire, authorities said.
As the weekend came to a close, the fire was posing imminent threats to rural communities near Mount Laguna, according to Cal Fire.
Authorities cleared residents out of 20 residences potentially in the path of the flames Sunday night and from 100 others Monday morning, when the evacuation zone was widened to cover about three miles along Sunrise Highway.
Several hours later, the flames jumped that rural route and continued moving to the west, driven by erratic winds and high temperatures, Mohler said.
The Horse Heaven Campground in the Cleveland National Forest was also evacuated, along with the Al Bahr Shrine, El Prado and Laguna and campgrounds and the Sierra Club's Foster Lodge.
About 1,170 firefighters were working the lines this morning by ground and air, including personnel who had to be flown in by helicopter due to the steep and remote nature of much of the territory where the blaze was burning.
Aiding Cal Fire in the effort were the U.S. Forest Service, California State Parks and the county Fire Authority and Sheriff's Department.
The California Highway Patrol closed State Route 79 at Sunrise Highway and blocked off the latter roadway at Old Highway 80.