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Wildfire burning in Campo now 30% contained

(CAL Fire)

CAMPO, Calif. – A fast-moving wildfire that blackened hundreds of open acres in the far southeastern reaches of San Diego County was 30 percent contained Thursday, fire officials said.

The back-country blaze erupted for unknown reasons about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday off the 31000 block of state Route 94 in the Cameron Corners area of Campo, according to Cal Fire San Diego officials. It sent a thick column of brown-and-white smoke into the air near the U.S.-Mexico border and prompted two evacuation warnings that were later rescinded.

One firefighter sustained a minor injury while helping to battle the blaze, which had grown to 265 acres as of mid-afternoon Wednesday, Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez said. The so-called “Recycle Fire” was still holding at that size Thursday morning.

About 90 minutes after it was first reported, the flames had blackened roughly 25 acres as crews worked to corral them on the ground and aboard air tankers and water-dropping helicopters, Sanchez said. As the blaze grew to over 250 acres, authorities issued evacuation warnings to residents along North Campo Truck Trail and, several hours later, to people who live on La Posta Road, informing them that any direct structural threats that could arise were believed to be at least two hours from materializing.

Due to the approaching flames, the latter road was closed to through traffic between SR-94 and Old Highway 80.

But by 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, officials had rescinded the first of the two evacuation advisories due to the movement of the blaze away from the potentially threatened area. As of 3:30 p.m., crews had the spread of the fire halted and its perimeter about 5 percent contained, at which point the other evacuation notice was lifted.

By about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, the blaze was 15 percent contained, officials said. Crews worked throughout the night to double containment to 30 percent as of 6 a.m.

The cause of the blaze — dubbed the Recycle Fire due to its proximity to a rural byway known to locals as “Recycle Road” — was not immediately clear, Sanchez said.