California sends firefighters into Mexico to battle wildfire near border

Kim Noyes
 


California sends firefighters into Mexico to battle wildfire near border

Posted on August 16, 2019 
CAL FIRE engines cross border into MexicoCAL FIRE engines cross the border into Mexico to assist firefighters in the suppression of a wildfire west of Tecate, Mexico. CAL FIRE photo.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has mobilized a strike team of fire engines to cross the international border in order to help firefighters in Mexico. They will be assisting in the suppression of the Border 8 Fire that has burned 1,500 acres very close to the border just west of Tecate, Mexico 23 miles southeast of San Diego.

The fire is a threat to cross the border in an area of the United States with steep topography and limited access. Keeping it from crossing the border would be the preferred option, rather than having to suppress a much larger fire in difficult terrain on the U.S. side.

The fire has been spreading to the east, generally toward the city of Tecate which has a population of 102,000 in its metropolitan area.

Air tankers have been dropping retardant in a few selected locations north of the border off and on since the fire started August 14, including S2T and C-130 aircraft from bases at Ramona and Hemet, California.

Photo from Otay Mountain showing the Border Fire at 5:44 p.m. PDT August 14, 2019, and the approximate location of the international border (white line).

CAL FIRE may decide to activate the unstaffed air tanker base at Brown Field Municipal Airport which is 1.6 miles north of the border and about 16 miles west of this fire. It is 31 miles south of the Ramona air tanker base and has a 7,972-foot runway which according to information from the USFS “provides ample length to meet safe takeoff requirements for the size and weight of a Next Generation Air Tanker with a full payload”. The runway at Ramona is too short to handle many of the large air tankers. The tanker base at Hemet, which also has a relatively short runway, is 80 miles north of the fire.

The fire can be seen via cameras here and here.



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