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San Diego County Fire Still Raging

October 07, 1987|From a Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — A stubborn fire on the dry slopes of Palomar Mountain continued to burn Tuesday as 1,245 firefighters, many of them from out of state, battled to contain the 9,000-acre blaze that has swept into inaccessible canyons and timberland not touched by fire in more than 100 years.

Rob Bruggema, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry, said the fire, which began Saturday at about 3 p.m., was about 40% contained Tuesday. "But we have absolutely no idea when the fire will be 100% contained," he added.

However, firefighters were thankful for Tuesday's slightly cooler temperatures and more of the same that is forecast for today. Firefighters hope the gradual cooling trend will slow down flames that have raced up and down the numerous rugged canyons feeding the fire.

Additionally, the blaze is traveling to higher elevations where temperatures are cooler and there is more moisture, raising optimism among fire officials that the worst is behind them.

Authorities said they still do not know the cause of the fire, which is burning in the Cleveland National Forest and the Mission Indian Reserve, about 40 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.

Fire officials said the fire was burning at elevations from 3,200 feet to 5,000 feet, which is the highest elevation of most peaks in the area. In the lower elevations, the fire is feeding on dry grass, brush and chaparral.

However, the fire has traveled up the craggy canyons to higher, slightly cooler pine forests where it was burning in timberland where no fires have been reported since record-keeping began about 100 years ago, Bruggema said.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Forest Service official reported progress in battling a 4,650-acre fire in a remote area of the Los Padres National Forest, 12 to 15 miles north of Ojai. Aided by cooler weather, the three-day-old Ventura County blaze was 55% contained by late Tuesday, said spokeswoman Susan Mockenhaupt.

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