About 8 miles east of El Cajon
Updated September 6, 2020 | 11:50 a.m. PDT
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.
A CAL FIRE incident management team, number 15, will be assuming command of the fire.
September 6, 2020 | 8:10 a.m. MDT
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.
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).
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.