Gate Fire: Cause under criminal investigation as crews gain cont - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Gate Fire: Cause under criminal investigation as crews gain control of fire near Jamul

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy of: Cal Fire San Diego Courtesy of: Cal Fire San Diego

Last updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 AT 9:30 AM
Acres burned: 2,056 acres
Containment: 100%
Location: San Diego County off of Hwy 94 and Otay Truck Trail, northwest of Dulzura
Start date: May 20, 2017
Road Closures: Otay Lakes Rd opened to all traffic Sunday evening. Road closures along Hwy 94 were in the area of the fire Sunday afternoon. Cal Fire urges drivers to use caution.

Evacuations:
All evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted in the fire area. 

For pet care contact the San Diego Humane Society 

Twitter Hashtags: #GateFire
 

JAMUL (NEWS 8) - The Gate Fire in San Diego's East County became a criminal investigation Sunday afternoon, according to Cal Fire.

Someone posted a video on Instagram  [Note: this video contains adult language] of what appears to be a group of people starting the fire, according to Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez.

The person who posted the video was cooperating with Cal Fire's criminal investigators and the investigation was ongoing as of Sunday evening. 

Highway 94 between Jamul and Dulzura was opened Sunday as firefighters continued for a second day to battle the fast-moving, brush fire in the East County back country.

An update Monday morning increased the burn area to 2,056 acres with 75 percent containment. By Monday evening the containment was at 95 percent.

Evacuation orders and warnings for Dulzura, Engineer Springs and the Thousand Trails Pio Pico Campground issued after the blaze started in the vicinity of state Route 94 and Otay Truck Trail late Saturday morning were canceled as of Monday, according to Cal Fire.  

Road closures along state Route 94 were also lifted, authorities said. 

Overnight temperatures Saturday and a rise in humidity allowed firefighters to make meaningful progress toward complete containment. The firewas primarily burning in grass with some sparse brush on Sunday.
   
The fire was reported at 11:20 a.m. Saturday, and the cause has not yet been determined, according to Capt. Issac Sanchez of Cal Fire.
   
Six fire engines, one helicopter, two air tankers, two water tenders, four hand crews and an air tactical aircraft from Cal Fire were initially assigned to fight the fire, Sanchez said. U.S. Forest Service personnel also responded, along with firefighters from Lakeside, Santee and Viejas.
   
The fire was reported to be about 10 acres in size when firefighters arrived, but quickly grew at a "dangerous rate of speed,'' Sanchez said. Hot, dry and windy conditions and rugged terrain helped the fire grow to 300 acres by 1 p.m. Saturday growing to 425 acres about an hour later. It doubled in size by 5 p.m. Saturday.

An evacuation order for Pio Pico was in effect Sunday morning due to infrastructure damage at the campground. Most residents had been relocated to the Red Cross evacuation center at Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista.

Residents needing pet care were advised to contact the San Diego Humane Society.

Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles. It was dubbed the "Gate Fire'' because of its proximity to a pink gate along the highway that leads to an access road, according to Sanchez.
   
No firefighter injuries were reported, but a Chula Vista police officer was seriously injured while directing traffic at a street closure.
   
Crews said Monday that they hope to have the fire fully contained by Tuesday.

FIRE RESOURCE LINKS

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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