The Cowboy Fire in East County is now 84 percent contained, and firefighters expect full containment today, according to Cal Fire.
Temperatures in the area are expected to reach a high of 100 today, creating conditions conducive to dehydration for firefighters, said Roxanne Provaznik, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire.
Four firefighters have been injured by the heat, bee strings and sprains, she said.
The cost to fight the 827-acre fire reached almost $1.9 million today, according to Provaznik.
The blaze broke out along the Pacific Coast Trail about 1 p.m. Thursday when two people from Mexico illegally crossed the border, got lost and started a signal fire, firefighters said. Those people got away.
CAMPO – The Cowboy Fire out in Potrero is still burning. Cal Fire investigators say two illegal immigrants sending out a distress signal set the blaze that had burned 822 acres by late Friday afternoon. Those immigrants haven’t been found.
“We were being told through the Mexican authorities that they had heard 911 traffic into Mexico that those folks were signaling for help,” said Deputy Chief Kelly Zombro with Cal Fire.
More than 1300 firefighters are on the ground now hoping to fully contain the fire by Sunday night.
“We’ve got fuels that are more than a hundred-years old. There is no burn history,” explained Zombro.
This area near Potrero and Campo is known for illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. Often during this time, immigrants find themselves overcome from heat and the rough terrain. People living near the fire weren’t too happy to hear it was set intentionally.
Jason Powell viewed the rising smoke near his Campo home. Powell understands the reason immigrants come here for a better life, but isn’t too happy when his quality of life is endangered.
“It’s a little disheartening,” Powell told San Diego 6, “Regardless of the fact that they’re doing whatever to save themselves.”
Lance Garml owns a Campo store and feels anyone setting a blaze should pay the price. “Hopefully, they find the people that are up to it — they get taken care of — whether it’s deported or put behind bars.”