Evacuations due to Chariot Fire lifted

7,055 acres burned, 70 percent contained

MOUNT LAGUNA - All evacuation orders for residents due to the Chariot Fire in the Mount Laguna area have been lifted, according to Cal Fire officials.

The blaze, which 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 85 percent contained as of Thursday evening, authorities said.

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 Thursday evening, authorities lifted all evacuations for 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.

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