Brush fire prompts evacuations in Dehesa

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DEHESA, Calif. -- A brush fire in the East County community of Dehesa grew to 25 acres and briefly prompted evacuations in the area, officials said Wednesday.

The blaze started around 3:47 p.m.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department issued evacuation warnings for Vista De La Montana, Calle De Nicole, and Trasalger Road.

"There is a report of structures threatened," Cal Fire San Diego said in a tweet.

Sherry German lives on Vista De La Montana and saw the flames from her front yard.

"I heard a lot of sirens and I wondered immediately, I hope it’s not a fire," German told FOX 5.

The fire is burning roughly two miles north of Sycuan Casino. By 6:40 p.m., the blaze was 25 percent contained.

“This fire was able to make a run straight up hill which is always kind of challenging for us because it takes off very quickly," said Cal Fire's Thomas Shoots.

Cal Fires said crews used chainsaws to cut down fuel, dug containment lines and dropped water and retardant. A total of 20 water tenders, two helicopters and 120 fire personnel attacked the flames. Several agencies were called in to help including the U.S. Forest Service, San Miguel Fire Protection District, Sycuan Fire, Alpine Fire, and Viejas Fire.

Two firefighters were injured. The extent of their injuries was unknown, but they were evaluated and went back to work, according to Cal Fire's Issac Sanchez.

Sheriff's deputies went door to door to, issuing voluntary evacuation notices to 20 homes, including German's. She said she packed up her car to leave, but ended up staying when fire crews were able to quickly stop the fire from spreading.

“I was starting to feel secure," German said.  "But I was still ready to leave."

Dehesa residents texted and called their neighbors that were not home, including Gary and Karen Olson.

"We dropped what we were doing and got in the car and drove home," Gary Olson said. "We were driving home from Alpine and saw mostly white smoke and felt relatively safe about that."

"We just headed home as fast as we could," Karen Olson said.

The Flesuras family said they rushed home to evacuate their horses. A helicopter landed just feet from the corral, startling the animals.

“The horses could have gotten injured by running around in the pen," Maegan Flesuras told FOX 5.

The voluntary evacuation notice was lifted about three hours later, and the horses and family remained home.

Neighbors said they will continue to clear dry grass way from their homes as the weather warms.

“We had a very wet winter which brought a lot of grass all around San Diego County," Shoots said. "That grass is now drying out and it’s becoming a huge problem. It’s carrying our fires. We need everyone to be extra fire safe."

Cal Fire expected the fire to be 100 percent contained by 8 a.m. Thursday.

 

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