Fire in rural East County forces hundreds to evacuate


UPDATE: The Southern Fire grew to 2,900 acres overnight, officials said Sunday morning. Click here for updates.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Evacuations were underway Saturday in Shelter Valley, 12 miles east of Julian, after a brushfire grew from 40 to 1,200 acres.

The fire was reported by Cal Fire Dan Diego about 5:15 p.m. on the Great Southern Overland.

Motorists first called the California Highway Patrol to report smoke in the area at 4:06 p.m. and the agency reported the address as 14925 Great Southern Overland Stage.

By 6:38 p.m., the agency tweeted that the fire spread to about 1,200 acres, three structures were destroyed and about 500 residents were evacuated from the Butterfield Ranch Campground to Agua Caliente.

The American Red Cross sent volunteers to set up a temporary evacuation point at the Agua Caliente Campgrounds at 39545 Great Southern Overland.

Very early Sunday morning, National Weather Service San Diego said it was monitoring a “significant flare-up” on the fire’s southern flank.

“Winds remain strong across the desert slopes, with ridgetop gusts 35-45 mph,” the agency wrote on Twitter just before 2 a.m. “Some weakening likely overnight, but stronger after daybreak.”

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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