"Chariot Fire" Jumps to 2,500 Acres - NBC Southern California
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"Chariot Fire" Jumps to 2,500 Acres

The blaze prompted evacuations of some campgrounds in the area over the weekend



    A brush fire that sparked Saturday near Julian continued to spread overnight, fire officials said.

    The blaze -- dubbed the "Chariot Fire" by officials -- broke out around 2 p.m. north of Mount Laguna, about nine to 10 miles southeast of Julian, just east of Sunrise Highway.

    By 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Cal Fire reported the blaze had scorched 700 acres, growing substantially in just under five hours. Crews from multiple agencies combined forces to battle the fire.

    By Sunday around 1:45 p.m., Cal Fire reported the Chariot Fire had grown to 2,500 acres. By 5:30 p.m. Cal Fire said the blaze was holding at 2,500 and was 20 percent contained.

    At that time, Cal Fire said Sunrise Highway was closed between State Route 79 and mile marker 26. Sunrise Highway from mile marker 26 to Interstate 8 was also closed off to traffic.

    As of early Sunday morning, officials said a total of 26 fire engines, two air tankers and three helicopters had been tackling the fire, which was still burning at a moderate to rapid rate of speed in grass and brush.

    Three bulldozers and seven water tenders were also being used, and cooperating agencies included Cal Fire, USFS Cleveland NF, CHP and the San Diego Fire Authority.

    Three firefighters sustained injuries in the Chariot Fire, but the extent of those injuries is unknown.

    No structures are threatened, officials confirmed.

    On Saturday evening, officials said the fire reached the Sunrise Highway and was burning below the Shriner Campground.

    Rangers at some campgrounds in the area issued voluntary evacuations that evening, telling campers they were not in danger, and could stay if the wanted.

    NBC 7 spoke with one camper who said she didn’t want to take the chance.

    “Living through the Cedar Fire, I just don’t feel that way anymore. I know how fast it can burn, so that’s all I needed to hear,” said the camper.

    The fast-moving wildfire in the remote location proved difficult for firefighters to get a handle on.
    Accessibility was an issue and crews worked hard to tackle the flames both on the ground and by air.

    Two divisions battled the blaze Saturday, and at least four more divisions joined the effort Sunday.

    By 1 p.m. Sunday, Cal Fire reported some campground evacuations were underway once again at multiple campgrounds on Mount Laguna, including the Shriner Campground.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation. Check for updates.