Wildfire in San Diego County, California, causes Mexico-US border at Tecate to close

The Border 32 wildfire in East County is only 14 percent contained on Wednesday afternoon, while the Tecate crossing gate and part of State Route 94 remain closed.

According to CalFire updates, the fire, which has burned 4400 acres in California, is 14 percent contained west of Potrero and has destroyed at least ten structures, including three homes.

Authorities worked throughout the night to slow the spread of the fire, whose smoke reached the skies over Tecate and Tijuana.

More than 300 firefighters continued to work to quell the fire on Thursday, September 1, amid a heat wave in the border region that will continue to be a challenge.

As of Wednesday afternoon, CBP reported that the U.S. port of entry in Tecate would be closed due to the advancing fire, which also caused the closure of connections to State Route 94.

“Following guidance from local firefighters and after coordinating with partners in Mexico, the port of entry will close early to ensure the safety of the traveling public, as well as the safety of personnel working at the border crossing, rather than at the usual 10 p.m. closing time. Officials will announce the reopening of the Tecate port of entry based on assessments of local conditions for Border Fire 32,” CBP said.

As of Thursday morning, the gate remains closed, according to Caltrans.

Border 32 report by Fire.ca.gov
Border 32 current wildfire report by Fire.ca.gov

Road closures include: SR-94 EB closed at Marron Valley Rd, WB closed at Forrest Gate Rd, SR-188 is closed from the Tecate entry point.

Border authorities called on international travelers to take precautions and head to Tijuana’s Otay Mesa border crossing.

San Diego authorities ordered temporary evacuations due to a wildfire recorded east of the county, near state Route 94 and the Tecate border.

The Border 32 fire is advancing rapidly. Around 7:30 pm, San Diego County Fire reported that the fire had already consumed more than 1,100 acres near Barrett Lake Rd, in Dulzura, and had even overtaken Highway 94.

CalFire San Diego reports that at least one structure has been destroyed, but there are no details on whether people have been injured.

For its part, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department reported on Twitter that evacuations are underway. Still, they are notifying door-to-door, and it is unclear how many homes are threatened by the fire.

“Those living on and east of Round Potrero Road in Potrero are now under an evacuation order. Follow the instructions of first responders,” is one of the warnings from the sheriff’s department.

The temporary evacuation point is at Jamul Casino, located at 14145 Campo Rd. in addition to Potrero County Park, 24800 Potrero Park Drive, and Campo Elementary, 1654 Buckman Springs Rd.

In the meantime, State Route 94 is closed in both directions near Bowmans Rd.

This fire comes amid the heat wave sweeping the border region and is forecast to intensify in the coming days, so authorities are also looking for brush fires.

On the Mexican side, the State Coordination of Civil Protection reported that the fire does not represent a danger to the population of the municipality of Tecate in Baja California. However, in the area, has been reported smoke.