Firefighters battle vegetation fire southeast of Julian: 'Chariot Fire' now 2,500 acres

Fire is 20% contained, campgrounds evacuated

JULIAN, Calif. - A fire southeast of Julian near Chariot Canyon burned about 2,500 acres, and firefighters had the blaze about 20 percent contained Sunday, fire officials said.

Four minor injuries to firefighters have been reported since the fire, dubbed the "Chariot Fire" broke out at about 1 p.m. Saturday off county Highway S-2 near the Butterfield Ranch and headed upslope toward Sunrise Highway, according to Cal Fire.

Currently, there are 60 engines, 25 fire crews, seven bulldozers and 14 water tenders for a total of 871 firefighters fighting the blaze, according to Cal Fire.

The Horse Heaven Campground in Cleveland National Forest was evacuated, as were the El Prado, Laguna and Al Bahr Shrine campgrounds on Mount Laguna, Cal Fire officials said.

The American Red Cross was setting up an evacuation center at Joan MacQueen Middle School at 2001 Tavern Road in Alpine, according to Cal Fire.

However, Red Cross spokeswoman Courtney Pendleton said as of 7 p.m., the Red Cross has closed the temporary evacuation center at the middle school due to evacuations from the Chariot Fire. She said in an email that they would continue to work with partners to determine Monday's needs.

State Route 79 was closed at Sunrise Highway and Sunrise Highway was closed at Old Highway 80, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The fire's cause was under investigation, Cal Fire said.

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