INVESTIGATION: what started the Lilac Fire?

Posted at 11:52 PM, Dec 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-09 02:59:36-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A new piece of video could offer clues as to how Lilac Fire ignited in North San Diego County. CalFire didn't know of the video until 10News sent it to them. 

The clip shows the moments just after the fire started on Thursday, 

RELATED: Lilac Fire: Brush fire rages in San Diego's North County

Steve Rudock shot the video.

"I was coming from Temecula just going down for a medical appointment, and seen it over to the right side," Rudock said. "It looked like they were starting to block off the two lanes so I started moving to the left."

Rudock says he had high hopes with fire crews already on scene.

"It seemed to be right at the beginning," he said. "But I guess that's just an indicator how fast the winds were going."

10News spoke with retired fire captain Bob Lyon. He helped break down the initial firefight for us. 

"The way that fire is running from the freeway they're going to be on the right flank of the fire," he said, watching the video. "You can see them getting off the rigs, they're getting their equipment ready."

Three units, working to flank it from both directions he said, following a cardinal rule of firefighting - never go downhill to fight a fire.

Lyon says firefighters can tell by the smoke that the fire is moving west. Still watching the video he says it's clear that they can also tell they need more help - and fast.

"It looks like an initial attack, and that's about all they can do," Lyon said. "They don't have near enough water at that point to try to put that thing out."

RELATED: How to help those affected by the Lilac Fire

As for what caused the Lilac Fire, that's still under investigation. But with so many witnesses, and traffic moving so fast on the 15, Lyon says it was likely an accident.

"Could be something dragging on the side of a car or a truck that parks," he said. "Something came off a car, a piece of metal or something."

Lyon tells 10News it looks like fire crews got to the fire within 15 to 20 minutes - which shows how fast it moved and got out of control.