Dozen Acre Carlton Hills Brush Fire Swiftly Put Down

Beginning around 3 p.m. a fire in northwest Santee is now under control, no homes burnt, no injuries reported.

The pungent smell of burning brush wafted across Santee Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m. as a brush fire in the hills above Carlton Hills grew to about 12 acres before being contained by firefighters.

No homes were burnt, a few fences singed, and no injuries are reported, according to fire authorities. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

said around 4 p.m. that the fire was contained. Fire crews and two helicopters took about 90 minutes to completely extinguish the fire, according to Heartland Fire.

Residents crowded the streets, those that weren't on the front line with garden hoses and neighborhood from encroaching flames.

I found myself in the same backyard I had been in during a , and neighbors acted rather calmly with flames 15 feet away, most having been through this many times before.

While Santee firefighters led the charge, help came from around the county, including fighters from La Mesa, Lemon Grove and El Cajon. Firefighting helicopters dramatically dropped Santee Lake water in a synchronized fashion on the flames over and over with amazing precision.

Check back later for video, more photos and more information. If you have media you would like to upload, please do!

AvgJoe May 04, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Wow wasn't there a fire up on that same hill the week Santee patch was launched? I don't think it's even been a full year yet.
Steven Bartholow (Editor) May 04, 2011 at 04:09 AM
Yes, the same hill, in September, the same day as the Bluegrass Festival in town. Here's that coverage: http://santee.patch.com/articles/carlton-hills-brush-fire-is-serious-warning-to-residents
Motivated Santee Citizen May 05, 2011 at 04:44 AM
There was a homeless guy living up there and his propane bottle exploded during the fire as I was told by someone that live near there. Resident thought local kids were responsible for igniting the fire.
Van Collinsworth May 05, 2011 at 05:56 PM
I alerted City officials to "Extreme Fire Risk" from illegal campfires at the site on April 10. My message stated in part: "Please address the site of illegal campfires immediately by breaking up the fire ring , removing fire wood, seats and refuse. Please also place a lock on the gate that allows easy access. The teenagers using this spot are not likely to be aware of how quickly the weather is changing and fuels are drying out. See the attached photos for location/reference. I’d also like to make a suggestion in regard to fire maintenance on Fanita Parkway. The practice of spraying herbicides is creating an ignition source of dry flash fuels until the weed whackers show up (which there is no sign of this year). It’s also ugly and expensive. Instead of spraying, please just do the weed whacking until more sustainable fire resistant landscaping is installed." I also sent an aerial photo of the exact site and I believe that officials had discussions with HomeFed Corp - the current owner about the issue. A photo of the area after the burn shows that fire rings still need to be broken up and refuse removed so the site does not become a potential ignition source next season. Note that it is the annual flash fuels that have replaced more fire resistant native shrubs that have become a frequent ignition source and problem on the wildland/urban interface. I'll upload photos to illustrate the specific problem area I identified and alerted officials to prior to the actual fire.
Motivated Santee Citizen May 06, 2011 at 03:07 AM
You alerted CITY OFFICIALS in Santee and nothing was done? This does not happen in the perfect city of Santee if you listen to the Mayor! I for one appreciate the time and effort that you have and are putting into trying to solve this ongoing issue. I wish the City Council felt the same way about your efforts.
Van Collinsworth May 06, 2011 at 03:32 AM
Thanks for your appreciation. Just to clarify, my understanding is that the City did include the Sheriff's Department in a discussion with HomeFed. You see by the photos however, that fire rings still need to be broken-up and the campsite cleaned up so it won't be utilized again. Hopefully, that will get done by HomeFed or the City in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department as they are needed for enforcement.
Motivated Santee Citizen May 06, 2011 at 09:48 AM
One can only hope that the city officials will do something about this issue. I am glad that nobody was injured and that no houses were damaged.
Steven Bartholow (Editor) May 06, 2011 at 03:51 PM
I happened upon that campsite when I took some aftermath photos the day after: http://santee.patch.com/articles/view-finder-aftermath-of-the-brush-fire I'll be reporting further on this.
Motivated Santee Citizen May 13, 2011 at 06:32 AM
I was told today that the homeless guy's campsite and all of the trash, etc involved with said campsite has been cleaned up. I have not seen this firsthand to verify though. If anyone feels like taking a hike and getting some exercise to verify it, that would be appreciated. By the way, that makes #59 for the homeless count in Santee versus 58. I had to say it. LOL


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