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Valley Fire burns thousands of acres south of Alpine, California – Wildfire Today

About 8 miles east of El Cajon

Updated September 6, 2020  |  11:50 a.m. PDT

Valley Fire
Valley Fire, looking northeast from Lyons Peak at 11:18 a.m. PDT Sept. 6, 2020.

Activity on the Valley Fire 8 miles east of El Cajon, California has increased. A smoke column has developed topped by pyrocumulus, indicating extreme fire behavior (although it can’t be seen in these photos). The latest size estimate is 4,000 acres.

Several air tankers have been assisting firefighters, including T-944 (747), T-23 (P-3), T-137 (737), an MD-87,  S-2Ts, lead planes, and air attack ships.

Aircraft on the Valley Fire
Aircraft on the Valley Fire at 11:32 a.m. PDT September 6, 2020.
Valley Fire
Valley Fire, looking east from Los Pinos at 11:18 a.m. PDT Sept. 6, 2020.

A CAL FIRE incident management team, number 15, will be assuming command of the fire.


September 6, 2020 | 8:10 a.m. MDT

Map of the Valley Fire Alpine California San Diego
Map of the Valley Fire, showing heat detected by satellites at 3:33 a.m. PDT September 6, 2020. Locations are approximate.

When the Valley Fire was reported in San Diego County south of Alpine, California at 2:16 p.m. Saturday the temperature at the nearby U.S. Forest Service Japatul Fire Station was 113 degrees and the relative humidity was 8 percent. It spread rapidly to the west running south of Japatul Road toward Loveland Reservoir pushed by winds gusting to 20 mph, prompting evacuations. Late in the afternoon CAL FIRE said it was 1,500 acres; an overnight update from fire officials estimated it at 3,000 acres. Structures have burned, but the number has not been released.

Evacuations are in effect. San Diego County has more information.

Valley Fire Alpine California
Valley fire, looking north from Lyons Peak at 6:31 a.m. PDT Sept. 6, 2020. AlertWildfire.

The weather forecast for the Valley Fire area is not good news for firefighters, with Sunday’s forecast calling for 108 degrees, 10 percent humidity, and ridgetop winds out of the northeast at 15 mph. On Monday it will cool off — to 99 degrees with 20 percent humidity. The mountain areas of southern California on Sunday are under two warnings: Excessive Heat and Red Flag.

The fire is under unified command, with Incident Commanders Chris Anderson (U.S. Forest Service) and Kurt Zingheim (CAL FIRE).

Valley Fire Sept. 5, 2020
Valley Fire, CAL FIRE photo, Sept. 5, 2020.

Much of the Valley Fire is burning in an area that has not been visited by fire since the huge Laguna Fire of 2000, according to the heat data collected by satellites. But the northwest side has spread into the Viejas Fire of 2001, as you can see in the map below.

Valley Fire, previous history
Valley Fire area, previous fire history 1980 through 2019. The red dots represent heat detected by satellites at 3:33 a.m. PDT September 6, 2020.



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