SANTEE, Calif. – Wind-whipped flames cut through dense foliage near Carlton Oaks Country Club Tuesday, blackening about six acres and threatening some homes, but causing no reported structural damage.
The blaze erupted about 3 p.m. in the bed of the San Diego River off Carlton Oaks Drive, near Calle del Verde in Santee, according to Heartland Fire & Rescue.
Ground crews and personnel aboard several water-dropping helicopters attacked the fire, which was stoked by gusty breezes and summer-like temperatures, a dispatcher said.
Within two hours, firefighters were making good progress toward containing the smoldering burn area. How the fire started was not immediately known.
“The flames were reaching 50 feet high, over the tops of the trees. I’ve been through fires before, but this one was the closest,” said Dr. Greg Aldana. Aldana says the flames reached 20 yards from his house.
“I just have to say thank god for the firefighters. I tell them that as the walk by.” The flames laid down and a skeleton crew of fire fighters spent the night monitoring the burn zone for flare ups.