Volcan Mountain Fire 50 Percent Contained

About 1,100 Firefighters Battle Stubborn Blaze

An arson wildfire that has scorched 685 acres in a wilderness preserve near Julian and destroyed numerous structures and vehicles was 50 percent contained Saturday, a fire official said.

About 1,100 firefighters planned to battle the blaze overnight, said Audrey Hagen of the California Department of Forestry.

The fire began last Tuesday on the 5,300-foot-high Volcan Mountain and is expected to be completely contained by this coming Tuesday, Hagen said.

Authorities did not say why they believed the fire was deliberately set.

A motorcyclist was seen leaving the point of origin as the blaze erupted near Farmer and Wynola roads late Tuesday morning.

The flames have destroyed six outbuildings, 28 trailers, three automobiles and a boat, Hagen said. Five firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The blaze swept over slopes and through canyons thickly wooded with oaks and pines, many of them infested with bark-beetles.

Fortunately for residents of the scenic highland region in eastern San Diego County, the flames moved away from populated areas.

This was not the case in August 2002, when a law enforcement helicopter clipped power lines and sparked what became known as the Pines Fire.

That conflagration blackened some 62,000 acres and destroyed 37 homes, 116 outbuildings and 169 vehicles.

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