Crews save Spring Valley homes from fast moving brush fire, evacuations lifted

Posted at 4:58 AM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 20:22:59-04

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. - Some Spring Valley residents were back at home Thursday after a fast-moving brush fire prompted evacuations in a neighborhood north of Sweetwater Reservoir.

As of Thursday morning, the so-called Pointe Fire had burned about 26 acres and was 80 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. It erupted for unknown reasons shortly after 4 p.m. off Pointe Parkway.

The fire prompted authorities to evacuate homes on Pointe Parkway, Ledgeside Street, California Waters Drive and Pleasant Waters Court, but the order was lifted Wednesday night, according to the state fire agency.

Medics took one firefighter to a hospital for treatment of a snakebite. Cal Fire officials later said he was "doing great."

No other injuries were reported.

Investigators Thursday began marking off an area in a canyon where the wildfire started.

"I can honestly tell you if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have a house today," said Mike Searcy, whose Spring Valley home sits right along the burned area.

Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said the one thing that stood out about the Pointe Fire was the neighborhood's eagerness to leave. It allowed emergency responders to focus more on the fire as opposed to the evacuation.

"Once I saw what was going on, I had the family go," said Searcy. "Loaded everybody up, they grabbed their things and jumped in the car."

Cal Fire sent 10News a map showing areas similar to the Pointe Fire that have gone untouched by fire for decades. The map shows thousands of acres in red, especially in the southeastern part of San Diego County, that have not burned in at least 40 years. That's at least 40 years of growth that could burn just as quickly as the Pointe Fire.

"It's my first experience with it and I hope I never have to go through with it again," said Searcy.