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Tanker Crashes, 19 Buildings Burn in San Diego County Brush Fires

August 02, 1997|From Associated Press

ESCONDIDO — Nine homes and 10 other structures burned to the ground and an air tanker crashed in San Diego County on Friday as several brush fires--including one deliberately set--raged into the night, officials said.

Temperatures hovering around 100 degrees at midday hindered firefighters' efforts, according to the California Department of Forestry.

A fire in the Lake Wohlford area that was deliberately set about 1:15 p.m. had burned more than 500 acres by late afternoon and was expected to consume at least 1,000 acres.

The blaze destroyed nine homes and 10 outbuildings, said Forestry Department spokeswoman Corey Rochester.

Officials said the area is hilly and inaccessible, and high winds were pushing the fire, which was leapfrogging ahead.

Another blaze burned about 140 acres near Ramona, threatening structures.

An air tanker scooping water from San Vicente Reservoir to fight that fire flipped over and crashed. Two crew members appeared to have minor injuries, department officials said. One was airlifted to a hospital, and the other was transported by ground.

The plane was contracted from a company called Airborne Fire Attack.

At least two other small fires were burning in north San Diego County.

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