3 firefighters injured as wildfire spreads near border

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.


POTRERO, Calif. -- Hundreds of additional firefighters will help battle a wildfire Monday that has blackened about 1,900 acres near the U.S.-Mexico border, destroyed four outbuildings and prompted authorities to evacuate the entire community of Potrero.

The  fire was 5 percent contained Monday morning and three firefighters working to control the blaze suffered heat exhaustion, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze ignited late Sunday morning in the vicinity of state Routes 94 and 188 amid an excessive heat warning. The fire spread to about 1,500 acres by about 11 p.m. Sunday, according to Cal Fire. Authorities have shut down state Route 94 in the area.

As of Monday morning, more than 250 firefighters were working to cut containment lines around the blaze. Hundreds more from around the state were expected to join in the battle, Cal Fire officials said.

Nearly 50 deputies will help with security and traffic control in the area.  In the air, two ASTREA Bell 205 fire/rescue helicopters equipped with 375-gallon belly tanks are making water drops.

Law enforcement officers evacuated residents and ranchers from Potrero as the fire spread north of the Tecate Junction.  An overnight shelter was opened at Campo Elementary School on Buckman Springs Road. Those who had evacuated to temporary shelter locations at the Campo and Dulzura community centers were later sent to Campo Elementary.   In total, 44 people stayed at the shelter overnight.

The blaze also caused a power outage that affected nearly 200 homes and businesses in Potrero and in the nearby communities of Campo and Dulzura, according to San Diego Gas & Electric. Electrical service is expected to be restored by noon.

With the excessive heat warning from the National Weather Service, Campo-Morena Village Library is open until 6 p.m. as a cool zone.

Classes at Mountain Empire Unified School District campuses were suspended Monday due to the fire, district officials said.