Crews getting handle on Chariot Fire, now 70 percent contained
MOUNT LAGUNA (CNS) – The Chariot Fire that has blackened 7,055 acres and
destroyed scores of mountain cabins and other structures in the Mount Laguna
area over the past five days was 70 percent contained Thursday morning, authorities
The fire erupted shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday off Sunrise Highway,
roughly 9 miles southeast of Julian, according to Cal Fire, which had 1,993
firefighters assigned to the incident as of 6:30 a.m. The state firefighting
agency also reported seven minor injuries have occurred since the fire began.
Most have been crew members suffering from heat exhaustion.
Among the known losses is the Al Bahr Shrine Camp, which lost its lodge,
social hall and about 10 cottages — all log structures built in the 1920s —
along with 85 or more trailers that had been converted into vacation cabins.
More than 100 residences, along with numerous campgrounds, were
evacuated because of the fire. A small group of residents were first to be told
to leave on Sunday, then the evacuation zone was expanded Monday to include
dozens more. By Wednesday evening, authorities allowed the public to return to
areas south of Los Huecos Road. However, locales as far north as Kwaaymii Point
An American Red Cross emergency shelter at Joan MacQueen Middle School
in Alpine remained available today for displaced residents.
Warm, dry conditions aided in the fire's growth over the weekend and
into early this week but since then, increasing humidity levels have helped
crews gain the upper hand on the fire, according to Cal Fire, which aims for
full containment Sunday.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.