Vallecito Lightning Complex Fires Fully Contained

Fires Triggered By Lightning Storms That Ignited Dry Brush

The Wilson fire, the last of seven ignited by lightning in the back country last week, was completely contained Sunday and remaining fire crews were mopping up hot spots and patrolling the fire perimeter.

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"Significant demobilization of firefighting resources continues and we'll be sending them north," said CalFire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler.

The Wilson fire, southwest of Borrego Springs, charred 11,669 acres and was the largest of the seven. All were triggered by lightning storms that ignited dry brush Aug. 12 and during the week. None of them burned any structures, but about 180 back-country residences in Ranchita and San Felipe were evacuated.

The Stewart Fire off Highway 78 near Scissors Crossing, the next to last to be halted, was 100 percent contained on Saturday before blackening 10,632 acres.

The so-called Vallecito Fire kicked off the spate of blazes the night of Aug. 12, consuming about 520 acres southeast of Julian, while the Cooper Fire to north, and the Wynola Fire, off state Route 79, each spread over roughly three acres. Two other blazes, the Porter and Shoots Fire, erupted Thursday. The former scorched less than an acre and the latter about two acres before crews knocked them down.

On Wednesday, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar sent eight helicopters to help shuttle personnel to the fire lines and make water drops.

About 1,550 personnel battled the blazes by air and ground. Vallecito Lightning Complex blazes caused minor injuries to four firefighters while they working the lines amid stifling heat and humidity. Injuries included superficial burns and heat exhaustion.

The effort at its height involved 85 fire engines, 14 helicopters, 13 bulldozers and 29 water tenders.

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