Firefighters stop spread of 18-acre blaze in Santee


SANTEE, Calif. — Firefighters stopped a wildfire in Santee at 18 acres Thursday, with crews expected to remain in the area to monitor hot spots during dangerous fire weather.

The fire in the Walker Preserve area, between Santee and Lakeside, forced evacuation warnings for residents before noon near Ramsgate Drive and Hillcreek Road, where the Santee Fire Department said homes were threatened. A temporary evacuation point was established at Pathways Church as more fire crews headed to the neighborhood.

The fire was somewhat difficult to reach, according to Santee Fire Battalion Chief Kyle Moyneur, and Santa Ana conditions heightened the threat. Planes and helicopters made airdrops on the blaze as firefighters attacked it from the ground.

“Hot, dry, really blowing quite a bit,” Moyneur said. “That’s why we have a lot of resources on it right now, because of the weather we are feeling.”

By 1 p.m., Santee Fire said the forward rate of spread was stopped at 18 acres. No damage to homes was reported, though an outbuilding may have sustained damage, Moyneur said. Santee firefighters expect to be in the area for hours, possibly overnight, to make sure the fire doesn’t spark up again.

The flames started as 5,300 SDG&E customers were without power on Thanksgiving Day because of dangerous fire weather. A high wind warning was set to expire at noon, while a red flag warning will be in place until 6 p.m. Friday for San Diego County mountains and inland valleys.

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