5,184-acre Southern Fire now 55% contained as evacuation orders lifted


SAN DIEGO — Firefighters were continuing to make progress Monday in battling the Southern Fire that broke out over the weekend in East County.

The wildfire in Shelter Valley burned nearly 5,200 acres this weekend, causing the evacuation of up to 500 people at Butterfield Ranch Campground. Containment was at 55% by Monday afternoon with three single-family homes and two accessory buildings destroyed, according to Cal Fire.

Firefighters said in a 12:15 p.m. update that evacuation orders for Butterfield Ranch and the surrounding community were lifted. The flames broke out on Great Southern Overland Stage Route Saturday around 5:15 p.m.

Cal Fire reported 6,500 acres had burned by Sunday. The agency updated the acreage to 5,184 Monday morning after firefighters were able to more accurately map the burn area.

The American Red Cross was providing emergency housing, meals and other services to 120 evacuees and the San Diego Humane Society was helping the county’s animal services team in evacuating animals from the area.

The county’s Air Pollution Control District said as of Monday morning, there was very little smoke visible from the Southern Fire. Some smoke is likely in the area since the fire is not yet fully contained, the agency said.

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