A fast-moving wildfire in the Japatul Valley area southeast of Alpine has spread to 1,500 acres amid triple-digit temperatures and gusty winds, and after nightfall, there were reports of structures burning.
Firefighters from the Cleveland National Forest and Cal Fire are battling the blaze, which broke out about 3 p.m. off Japatul and Carveacre roads.
“Update on the #ValleyFire, 300-400 acres, dangerous rate of spread, community of Carveacre is threatened and under evacuation orders. Multiple air and ground resources are on scene and en route,” according to a tweet from the Cleveland National Forest shortly after the blaze started.
San Diego Gas & Electric reported that the giant Skycrane helicopter that it provides for San Diego County protection has already made multiple water drops. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department also sent resources, including the Type-3 Metro Zone Strike Team.
Cal Fire reported at 5:15 p.m. that the fire is moving west toward Lawson Valley.
Those under evacuation orders were directed to Steele Canyon High School in Spring Valley or Joan MacQueen Middle School in Alpine.
According to the San Diego County Sheriffs Department, road closures due to the fire include: Japatul Road at Carveacre Road, Sequan Truck Trail and Hidden Glen Road, and Lawson Valley Road at Skyline Truck Trail.
Plumes of smoke could be seen for miles in East County.
Weather readings in Alpine when the fire started were 107 degrees with wind gusts of 29 knots.
Updated at 6 and 9:45 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020
Photo of the #ValleyFire by @CALFIRESANDIEGO PIO Kendal Bortisser. There’s a power outage in the area, please take precautions due to our red flag warning & fire weather watch. Don’t forget to register your cell phone # & email address for AlertSanDiego @ https://t.co/ibTWWz9NCY pic.twitter.com/sErNQd9r9v
— San Diego Sheriff (@SDSheriff) September 6, 2020
Satellite loop showing the wildfires raging across #California, including two new fires in our service area, the #ElDoradoFire (San Bernardino County) and the #ValleyFire in #SanDiego County near Alpine. Smoke plume aloft already over our office. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/4vQIYKmVRD
— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) September 5, 2020
We currently have one Type-3 Metro Zone Strike Team, consisting of three engine companies & a battalion chief, assisting with the #ValleyFire. We will likely dispatch Copter 3 for night drops, as well as other resources. https://t.co/nzufi8VBhQ
— SDFD (@SDFD) September 6, 2020