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Blazes Graze on 600 Acres; 2 Firefighters Fall to Heat

Times Staff Writer

Three brush fires burned more than 600 acres Friday afternoon in East San Diego County as dry weather and high temperatures collided with the start of the brush fire season.

No structures were threatened, and no one was evacuated, said Pat Allen, fire information officer with the California Department of Forestry.

The largest of the blazes burned more than 500 acres in the Flinn Springs area of the El Cajon Valley. Two firefighters collapsed from heat exhaustion while fighting the blaze but were treated and returned to the fire lines by late evening.

The fire originated in Flinn Springs Park and burned toward Rios Canyon and the community of Crest. The cause is under investigation.

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About 350 firefighters from El Cajon, Santee, Lakeside, San Diego, South Bay and the California Department of Forestry battled the blaze. Four bulldozers, four helicopters and two air bombers also were called in.

Elsewhere, a brush fire at the Lost Valley Boy Scout Ranch in Warner Hot Springs, about 75 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, burned 80 acres Friday afternoon. No injuries were reported.

In Ramona, a 10-acre fire at the Sawday Ranch was contained by late evening. The causes of these blazes are also under investigation.

“The problem is that we’ve had only a trace of precipitation this month and very little in May as well,” National Weather Service forecaster Grady Svoboda said. “There are higher evaporation rates, especially with the warmer temperatures, and it makes it quite dangerous in terms of brush fires.”

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Temperatures reached 93 degrees in El Cajon, 92 in Julian, 98 in Alpine and 97 in Ramona on Friday. The high temperature at Lindbergh Field was 79, a 5-degree increase from Thursday’s high. Today and Sunday’s temperatures are again expected to reach the mid-90s inland and the mid-80s in the coastal strip.


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