Brush Fire Burns Near Pine Valley - NBC Southern California

Brush Fire Burns Near Pine Valley

Fast-moving fire prompted officials to close I-8 for a time Saturday



    About 200 firefighters worked through the night to contain the Gun Fire near Pine Valley. NBC 7's Omari Fleming reports. (Published Sunday, March 9, 2014)

    A brush fire in San Diego's East County is roughly 60 percent contained, fire officials reported Sunday evening. 

    Officials say the fire should be fully contained by Thursday.

    As of 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the so called "Gun Fire" had burned up to 125 acres.

    The fire got its name because it sparked near a gun enthusiasts club off Old Highway 80.

    A huge plume of smoke was first seen around 12:30 p.m. Saturday about two miles up W. Sunrise Highway from Interstate 8 in the Cleveland National Forest. 

    No structures were threatened, and 250 fire personnel stayed on scene overnight, building fire lines to contain the flames. 

    “The access to the area where the fire is burning is really challenging, and some strong gusty winds earlier made it difficult for the fixed-wing aircraft to drop retardant on the fire, so for a while, the retardant drops were shut down,” said Wende Cornelius, the fire information officer for Cleveland National Forest.

    Cornelius said the fire was spreading on brush that hasn't been burned for roughly 40 years, and the winds were helping it move faster.
    The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for San Diego County's valleys and mountains, which expired at 5 p.m. Sunday.
    Three helicopters were ordered to help extinguish the fire, but high winds prevented them from taking off Sunday. Crews are also anticipating high winds Tuesday and Wednesday.
    Firefighters have not reached the point of origin yet, so they have not yet determined a cause.

    SDG&E turned off power in the fire's area by request of the U.S. Forestry as a safety concern, which affected the community of Mt. Laguna. Officials said a power pole did burn, but only after the power was cut.

    According to the California Highway Patrol, officers closed down the interstate around 1:40 p.m. Saturday in both directions in the area of Buckman Springs Road and Highway 80. The freeway was reopened around 3:15 p.m. on Saturday.