San Diego County officials urged residents to take precautionary measures if an emergency disaster strikes, as the region is under an extreme heat warning with dangerously hot conditions.
San Diego County Board Chair Nathan Fletcher, Supervisor Joel Anderson, CAL FIRE, County Fire Chief Ray Tony Meacham, and San Diego County Sheriff Anthony Ray spoke Thursday during an update on the Border 32 fire.
Authorities said the fire erupted for unknown reasons at about 2 p.m. Wednesday off Barrett Lake Road near State Route 94 in the Barrett Junction Area, roughly three miles north of the U.S-Mexico border.
More than 1,500 residents were evacuated due to the more than 4,000-acre fire, which charred northwest Tecate and destroyed 10 structures. The blaze injured three people and left two left critically injured.
The flames are 20 percent contained, according to the most recent update provided by Cal Fire. As of 1:45 p.m Thursday, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department lifted all evacuation orders and road closers relating to the Border 32 Fire, allowing residents to return home. State Route 94 reopened in both directions, but the Tecate Port of Entry remains closed to all traffic.
The California Border Patrol announced the Tecate Port of Entry will reopen to the public on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 6 a.m.
With temperatures expected to soar, the group asked people to evacuate when they get evacuation orders and to create personal disaster and evacuation plans before danger strikes.
“I’ve been evacuated numerous times, I wasn't so clear about leaving my house," County Supervisor Joel Anderson said. "When we do that, we are forcing law enforcement or firefighters to leave their job protecting others to come back and save us. Don't make that mistake. If they ask you to evacuate, please evacuate. They work hard to save everyone’s home and, most importantly, your life.”
The following tips are provided by county emergency officials to reduce the risk of fire near homes:
- Remove debris, including dried leaves, firewood stacks, or trash from around the home. This includes leaves on their roof and in gutters.
- Trim any tree branches that overhang your home and cut low branches on trees without using power tools.
- Dried-out bushes or plants should also be pruned or removed.
- All tree or shrub clippings need to be cleaned up and disposed of in a bin.
Accidental brush fires can be prevented with the following tips, according to county officials.
- Be careful with smoking materials.
- Never pull your vehicle over in the grass. Make sure your vehicle is well maintained as faulty catalytic converters have been a major cause of accidental fires in San Diego County.
- If you have a trailer on your vehicle, make sure the chains don’t drag on the ground while driving and spark a fire.
People can receive emergency alerts through AlertSanDiego, the County’s cell phone notification service. The County’s SD Emergency app also provides news updates, maps, and shelter locations, and includes disaster planning templates and interactive checklists.
Updates and other information will be posted at sdcountyemergency.com and sent out via the app.