Day 3: Valley Fire Rages in East San Diego County, Scorches 10,258 Acres – NBC 7 San Diego

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What to Know

  • As of 7 a.m. Monday, the Valley Fire had burned 10,258 acres and destroyed at least 11 structures.
  • The blaze is 1% contained, according to Cal Fire.
  • Evacuation orders for Lawson Valley and the community of Carve Acre Road remain in place.

The fast-moving Valley Fire in east San Diego County continued burning Monday as crews approached the third day of the firefight amid sweltering heat sweeping the region — and with even more fire risk yet to come.

As of 7 a.m. Monday, Cal Fire San Diego said the Valley fire had scorched 10,258 acres and was only 1% contained. The wildfire has grown by 408 acres overnight. In its path, the Valley Fire had destroyed at least 11 structures.

Cal Fire San Diego said Monday morning that the agency would, through an agreement with the Navy Third Fleet and First Marine Expeditionary Force, lean on military aircraft for help fighting the Valley Fire.

The fire first sparked around 2:15 p.m. Saturday in vegetation at Spirit Trail and Japatul Valley Road.

Evacuations for the Lawson Valley area and the community to Carve Acre Road remained in place Monday.

Cal Fire said Sunday that in addition to the evacuated areas, the wildfire was threatening buildings in Wood Valley, Lyons Valley, and Deer Horn Valley.

The agency said the blaze was burning at a “critical/dangerous rate of speed.”

All evacuation updates tied to the Valley Fire can be found here.

NBC 7’s Audra Stafford shares the latest updates on evacuations stemming from the Valley Fire in San Diego’s East County.

https://twitter.com/ClevelandNF/status/1302989418651725824/photo/1


Evacuations

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said an evacuation warning was in effect in the areas of State Route 94 and Marron Valley, as well as Lyons Valley Road area out to the Morena Reservoir.

An evacuation warning means evacuations are voluntary right now, not mandatory, but officials said residents should prepare to leave their homes if an evacuation order is issued.

The communities of Lawson Valley and Carve Acre Road were under a mandatory evacuation order.

“I saw lots and lots of fire,” said Manuel Baeza, a Lawson Valley resident. “Lots of fire. Big, big flames. Maybe like 60 feet or 80 feet high.”

Temporary evacuation sites are located at Steele Canyon High School in Spring Valley, at 12440 Campo Rd., and at Joan MacQueen Middle School in Alpine, at 2001 Tavern Rd.

People who evacuated ahead of the flames over the weekend anxiously awaited permission to return to their homes, reported NBC 7’s Priya Sridhar.

Authorities said family pets are welcomed at the evacuation centers.

The American Red Cross of the Southern California Region was also assisting those who have been displaced.

Residents in the immediately impacted area packed what they could and left as quickly as possible as thick plumes of smoke billowed above. Some locals were seen getting their horses to safety.

“As long as you can see things, take your time, get your animals,” advised Charlie Kouns, who lives in the impacted area. “If that’s what you want to do, then do it.”

The San Diego Humane Society said its emergency response team will be helping with animal evacuations. Large animals will also be held in an evacuation site at the County Animal Services South Shelter, in Bonita. SDHS can assist in evacuating large animals and family pets are also welcome there, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said.

The Children’s Nature Retreat in Alpine had to be evacuated over the weekend due to the fast-moving Valley Fire.

Road Closures

A series of roads were closed over the weekend due to the Valley Fire. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said the following roads were closed until further notice:

  • Japatul Road and Sequan Truck Trail
  • Japatul Road and Carveacre Road
  • Japatul Road and Hidden Glen
  • Japatul Road at Tavern Road/Dehesa Road
  • Japatul Road from Dehesa to Lyons Valley Road
  • Japatul Road at Lyons Valley Road/Japatual Valley Road
  • Lawson Valley Road at Skyline Truck Trail and Rudnick Drive
  • Wisecarver Lane and Wisecarver Truck Trail
  • Skyline Truck Trail and Lawson Valley
  • Montiel Truck Trail and West Boundary Truck Trail
  • Montiel Truck Trail and Lawson Valley Road
  • Lyons Valley Road from Japatul Road to Honey Springs Road     

Sweltering Heat Wave, Fire Risk

It’s been a difficult few days for crews as they faced triple-digit temperatures during a relentless heat wave in San Diego County.

The county was under a red flag warning throughout the weekend and, on Monday, the hot, dry conditions would continue.

NBC 7’s Sheena Parveen shares the First Alert Forecast for the morning of Sept. 7, 2020.

The National Weather Service said its excessive heat warning would remain in effect through 8 p.m. Monday.

And then, more fire weather.

The NWS said a fire weather watch would be in effect from 3 p.m. Tuesday through 8 p.m. Wednesday for strong, gusty winds and low humidity in the mountains and foothills of the inland valleys.

NBC 7 meteorologist Sheena Parveen said those wind gusts in San Diego’s mountains could increase to up to 50 mph by Tuesday night, into Wednesday.

“Humidity is going to be dropping, too, so what’s going to happen by mid-week, is we’re going to have a very brief Santa Ana set-up,” Parveen explained. “So, that’s why our fire danger is going to be elevated.”

We will bring you the latest updates throughout the day on the Valley Fire.


Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in San Diego County on Sunday night.

The state faces an unprecedented situation with regard to wildfires; on Sunday, Newsom also declared a state of emergency in Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, and San Bernardino counties. The governor said that “extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to the Creek, El Dorado, and Valley Fires” in a proclamation issued on Sunday.

Among other things, the state of emergency mobilizes the California National Guard to aid in relief efforts and also permits state agencies to assist in the purchase of “materials, goods, equipment and services necessary to quickly assist with the response to and recovery from the impacts of these fires.”

“The fires have burned tens of thousands of acres, destroyed homes and caused the evacuation of thousands of residents,” Newsom’s office stated in a news release sent out Sunday night. The governor declared the statewide emergency in response to the dangers posed by the fires and secured a “presidential major disaster declaration” to aid in the state’s response to the fires in Northern California in Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Napa, Nevada, Lake, Solano, Yolo and Monterey counties.

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