EAST COUNTY — Firefighters will work through the night fighting the Valley Fire after it damaged homes and spurred evacuations Saturday.
The fire quickly grew from 20 to 1,500 acres after it broke out in Japatul Valley south of Alpine around 3 p.m.
It was zero percent contained and moving southwest toward the community of Lawson Valley late Saturday night. Cal Fire said homes were damaged but the agency couldn’t say how many.
“We do have confirmation that there have been homes, structures destroyed and damaged but I don’t have a number for you yet, this is still an escalating incident,” Capt. Kendal Bortisser with Cal Fire told FOX 5.
He said the fire surpassed 1,500 acres Saturday night. As soon as planes go up in the morning, they’ll have a better idea of how large it has grown. Hundreds of firefighters will work through the night including more who are en route, Bortisser said.
Evacuations and closures
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department officers were helping with evacuations in Carve Acre, a sparsely populated area of East County south of Japatul Road and west of Lyons Valley Road.
Officers told evacuees to go to Steele Canyon High School at 12440 Campo Road in Spring Valley or Joan MacQueen Middle School at 2001 Tavern Road in Alpine.
Officials are urging people who live in the area to register their cellphones for San Diego County evacuation alerts. Click here to do so.
The sheriff’s department is also warning of several road closures:
Japatul Rd & Carveacre Rd
Lawson Valley Rd & Skyline Truck Trail
Japatul Rd & Sequan Truck Trail (soft closure)
Japatul Rd & Hidden Glen Rd
San Diego Fire Department said they had three engine companies and a battalion chief assisting with the Valley Fire. They will likely dispatch Copter 3 for night drops, the department said.
SDG&E originally said up to 12,700 customers were without power because the Valley Fire was impacting SDG&E equipment. They later said only 1,000 customers were without power because of the wildfire.
The Red Cross and humane society are dispatching emergency response teams to help evacuees. SkyMaverick, SDG&E’s water-dropping helicopter, has been dispatched to help fight the flames.
Photos shared by families all over San Diego showed smoke reaching high into the air.