Crews contain four fires along I-8 in East County - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Crews contain four fires along I-8 in East County

Posted: Updated:
(photo courtesy Sam Parthemer) (photo courtesy Sam Parthemer)

ALPINE (CBS 8) - Two firefighters were injured Saturday while working to extinguish a string of brush fires along Interstate 8 between Alpine and Pine Valley, which may have been sparked by a vehicle's faulty catalytic converter.

"If this would have started a couple days ago with the Santa Ana winds, it would have been a different story," said Rick Marinelli, U.S. Forest Service. 

Minutes after a series of small fires broke out along Interstate 8 Saturday morning, ground crews and air support were already on the scene.

"We had four tankers, two helicopters and an air attack. The way it was moving at the beginning warranted the high response," said Marinelli. 

There were a total of four fires. 

The first appeared along the westbound lanes of I-8 near Pine Valley. But it was a 15 acre brush fire - east of Alpine at the viewpoint exit - that had crews struggling.

One firefighter suffered an ankle injury. Another had to be airlifted out for heat exhaustion.

"The terrain is real steep and treacherous. There's a high risk for kicking rocks loose with everybody pulling their hose and all that stuff. It's definitely cumbersome to suppression efforts, but they're dealing with it," Marinelli said. 

By 4 p.m., the fire was 60 percent contained. As crews worked to put it out, nearby residents pulled over to check on the progress.

"We were scared that it might come down and burn us like it did in 2000," Adam said. 

Adam lives on the Viejas Reservation. He took pictures when the fire initially got underway and says he can't thank these firefighters enough.

"They were on it within five minutes," he said. 

Also impressed with the quick response was Tim Heidcamp. The Clairemont resident was heading to Lake Cuyamaca to go fishing when his truck broke down right in the fire's path.

"We had a ringside seat watching the planes dump their stuff. It was a nice distraction I guess when thinking about putting a new engine in the truck, you know," he said. 

CHP officials said that an overheating catalytic converter on an unknown vehicle may have caused the fires.

Cal Fire crews were assisting those from the Cleveland National Forest to get the upper hand on a fire along the freeway, north of the Pine Valley viewpoint, according to Cal Fire.

Firefighters and the CHP blocked one westbound lane on Interstate 8 near Willows Road before the blaze was fully contained, according to the CHP.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • California drivers must give bikes 3-foot buffer

    California drivers must give bikes 3-foot buffer

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 3:27 PM EDT2014-09-16 19:27:52 GMT
    Californians will now need to take extra care to steer clear of cyclists. 
    Californians will now need to take extra care to steer clear of cyclists. 
  • City Council reviews request for Hays defense

    City Council reviews request for Hays defense

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 3:27 PM EDT2014-09-16 19:27:18 GMT
    The City Council Tuesday authorized the City Attorney's Office to set aside as much as $250,000 to retain outside counsel to defend former San Diego police Officer Christopher Hays against any lawsuits filed by women who contend he groped and illegally detained them. 
    The City Council Tuesday authorized the City Attorney's Office to set aside as much as $250,000 to retain outside counsel to defend former San Diego police Officer Christopher Hays against any lawsuits filed by women who contend he groped and illegally detained them. 
  • Hearing for woman accused of shooting son-in-law

    Hearing for woman accused of shooting son-in-law

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 2:36 PM EDT2014-09-16 18:36:31 GMT
    A preliminary hearing is scheduled Tuesday for a 63-year-old woman accused of fatally shooting her son-in-law in Fallbrook after he made a comment about what she was wearing. 
    A preliminary hearing is scheduled Tuesday for a 63-year-old woman accused of fatally shooting her son-in-law in Fallbrook after he made a comment about what she was wearing. 
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.