Last updated: Thursday, July 13 at 8:30 PM
Acres burned: 400
Location: Interstate 8 and Olde Highway 80
Start date: Tuesday, July 11
Cause: Automobile exhaust spark
Evacuations: All evacuation orders lifted
Evacuation Centers: Closed
Road closures: All roads are reopened
Twitter Hashtags: #JenningsFire
FLINN SPRINGS (NEWS 8/CNS) - Crews working to extinguish the smoldering remnants of a wildfire that scorched some 400 acres near Lake Jennings had the burn area fully contained as of late Thursday afternoon.
Engine emissions from a passing vehicle sparked the so-called Jennings Fire alongside Interstate 8 near Olde Highway 80 shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to Cal Fire.
An evacuation order was issued Tuesday for residents of threatened homes along nearby View Side Lane, but they were allowed to return home Tuesday night, according to Cal Fire.
The fire also prompted a temporary shut down of Interstate 8 between Tavern and Lake Jennings Park roads, which led to hours of gridlock in both directions.
One to three eastbound lanes near the fire were out of commission at various times Wednesday morning and afternoon as firefighters continued to douse hot spots and create lines of control around the charred areas. The interstate was fully reopened as of 4:30 p.m., the California Highway Patrol reported.
No structural damage or injuries were reported.
On Tuesday, the flames posed an immediate threat to five homes, the state agency reported.
Authorities directed those living along View Side Lane to clear out of the neighborhood while ground and airborne firefighters worked to corral the blaze.
Crystal Alford, her husband and their three sons moved into their View Side Lane home just one month ago.
She and her family had to evacuate as the Jennings Fire threatened her neighborhood.
“It was right there – scary! So close to our home. I am happy it is still there. I was kind of scared because I have this family box of all my pictures. I did not want them to burn down,” she said.
Chief Tony Mecham, with CalFire San Diego, said it was not safe for people to be driving around as aircrafts made drops on the fire.
County officials also issued an "evacuation advisory" for Peutz Valley and the northern end of Harbison Canyon in the Hunter Pass area, alerting residents of those locales that they might have to vacate if the blaze kept moving in their direction.
Temporary shelters for evacuees were established at Granite Hills High School on East Madison Avenue in El Cajon and at Joan MacQueen Middle School on Tavern Road in Alpine.
As the fire rapidly moved across hilly terrain to the southwest, the CHP shut down nearby Interstate 8 between Tavern and Lake Jennings Park roads. The closure resulted in hours of gridlock for miles to the east and west.
By 5 p.m., crews had halted the spread of the fire, allowing for the reopening of the westbound lanes of the interstate in the area..
Investigators determined that engine emissions from a passing vehicle ignited the blaze, according to Cal Fire.
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FIRE RESOURCE LINKS
#JenningsFire [update] The fire is now 90% contained & remains 400 acres.— CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO (@CALFIRESANDIEGO) July 13, 2017
#JenningsFire [update] The fire remains 400 acres and is now 30% contained.— CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO (@CALFIRESANDIEGO) July 12, 2017
#JenningsFire [update] Forward rate of spread has been stopped. Westbound I-8 has opened & Eastbound remains closed.— CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO (@CALFIRESANDIEGO) July 11, 2017
#JenningsFire [update] Fire is now 400 acres and 0% contained.— CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO (@CALFIRESANDIEGO) July 11, 2017
#JenningsFire [update] An evacuation center has been set up at:— CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO (@CALFIRESANDIEGO) July 11, 2017
Joan MacQueen Middle School
2001 Tavern Rd., Alpine, CA 91901
#JenningsFire [update] Fire is now 300 acres with structure threat to 5 homes. Evacuations are in progress.— CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO (@CALFIRESANDIEGO) July 11, 2017
Mandatory evacuations for the areas of View Side Ln., Alpine are in effect. pic.twitter.com/OWUhn7tUQO— CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO (@CALFIRESANDIEGO) July 11, 2017