Damage mounts from Chariot Fire

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MOUNT LAGUNA, Calif. — Nearly 2,150 firefighters battled a back country wildfire Wednesday that has blackened 7,055 acres and destroyed an estimated 120 structures, most of them campground cabins in the Mount Laguna area.

Damage from Chariot FireThe blaze — dubbed the Chariot Fire — broke out for unknown reasons just before 1 p.m. Saturday near Chariot Mountain and Butterfield Ranch, according to Cal Fire, which reported that the blaze was 40 percent contained as of Tuesday evening.

The state firefighting agency also reported that the fire has destroyed an estimated 120 structures, many of them campground cabins, and left five firefighters with heat exhaustion and other minor injuries. An additional 120 residences were threatened as of Tuesday evening, according to Cal Fire.

Evacuations were in effect for the fourth consecutive day Wednesday. Authorities cleared everyone out of 20 structures in the path of the flames Sunday night and from 100 others the next morning.

The American Red Cross has been running an emergency shelter for the displaced residents and campers at Joan MacQueen Middle School on Tavern Road in Alpine.

Aiding Cal Fire in battling the blaze, handling evacuations and working road closures were the U.S. Forest Service; California Highway Patrol and State Parks; and San Diego County Fire Authority and Sheriff’s Department.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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