Southern California Wildfires

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Weather is on firefighters' side - for now
Cool, moist air is aiding the battle against the last of the Southern California wildfires, but Santa Ana winds are expected to return by this weekend. More

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Firefighter Josh Balboa monitors the Harris fire in southern San Diego County.

Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times


Camp Pendleton fire 100% contained, Marines resume training

The Horno fire, which burned more than 21,000 acres on Camp Pendleton, is 100% contained, and training for Marines preparing to deploy to Iraq will resume Monday, Marine Corps officials said today.

Also, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced that the Tecate port of entry would reopen at 5 a.m. Monday for passenger vehicles and pedestrians. Trucks are still being diverted to the Otay Mesa or Calexico ports.

-- Tony Perry

NFL, Chargers owners donate $1.25M to fire relief fund

The National Football League is donating $250,000 to the Chargers Fire Relief Fund, and the Spanos family, owners of the San Diego Chargers, is donating $1 million.

The Chargers are collecting donations from fans entering Qualcomm Stadium today for the Chargers-Houston Texans game. Donations go directly to the Salvation Army and families of injured firefighters.

Also, California National Guard sergeants major have established a fund to help Guardsmen and their families hurt by the fires: www.smaofcalifornia.org. Several Guardsmen have had their homes destroyed or damaged, officials said.

-- Tony Perry

Containment of Harris fire expected Wednesday

The deadly Harris fire in San Diego County has burned 90,750 acres and is 65% contained, with full containment expected Wednesday and full control by Nov. 4. The blaze has destroyed 206 homes and damaged 250 homes and 247 outbuildings.

Five people have died as a result of the fire, and 32 firefighters and 21 civilians have been injured. Today, 2,544 firefighters will work the blaze, which has cost $9.7 million to fight. The cause remains under investigation.

-- Tami Abdollah

Witch fire almost at an end

The Witch fire in San Diego County has burned 197,990 acres and was 90% contained this morning, with officials aiming for full containment Tuesday and full control by Nov. 3.

The blaze has destroyed 1,040 homes and 30 businesses, and damaged 70 homes and 10 businesses. There were two deaths; 36 firefighters and two civilians were injured.

Today, 2,807 firefighters are working the blaze, which has cost $11.3 million to fight. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

-- Tami Abdollah

Poomacha fire still a threat

The Poomacha fire, the only one still burning in San Diego County, threatens 500 homes. The blaze has burned through 49,150 acres and is 50% contained, fire authorities said. Full containment is expected by Wednesday.

So far it has destroyed 136 homes and 19 outbuildings and injured 18 firefighters. Today 2,123 firefighters worked the blaze, which has cost $5.2 million to fight.

The fire started in a home, officials said. The blaze is currently burning along the Santa Margarita drainage area. Hot spots remain in the Agua Tibia Wilderness and at the top of Mt. Palomar, where some evacuations continue in effect.

-- Tami Abdollah

Rice fire is 100% contained

The Rice fire, which has burned through 9,000 acres, was declared 100% contained this morning, with firefighters aiming for full control by Nov. 5, according to Audrey Hagen, a spokeswoman for Cal-Fire.

The blaze in San Diego County, caused by a spark from power lines, has destroyed 205 homes, two businesses and 40 outbuildings. It has injured five firefighters.

Today about 850 firefighters continued to work the blaze doing mop-up. "They'll be checking for hot spots, and they won't declare it fully out until the 5th, or sooner," Hagen said. The fire has cost nearly $5 million to fight.

-- Tami Abdollah

Man accused of impersonating firefighter

San Diego:

Fire investigators Saturday appealed to the public for information about a 44-year-old Los Angeles man arrested Wednesday for allegedly impersonating a firefighter at the Rice fire in Fallbrook.

William Reed Brock, on probation for a drug offense, was arrested while driving a Ford pickup with personalized firefighter license plates and a bed full of fire equipment and clothing.

Investigators said that "if you have seen Brock at any wildfires, or in fire camps or at fire stations," you should contact sheriff's detective Clayton Lisk at (760) 451-3110 or Cal-Fire investigator Gary Eidsmore, (800) 468-4408 or the Cal-Fire Arson Tip Line, (800) 468-4408.

Brock allegedly told deputies he was a member of the Morongo Fire Department, but that information proved false. He is not considered a suspect in any of the fires, Lisk said.

Brock is 6-foot, 160 pounds, balding with blond hair and a ponytail.

-- Tony Perry

Salvaging memories

Delrios

Kora Minor, left, consoles neighbor Andrea Beckwith after she found a family memento in the debris of her burned-out home in the Del Dios area of Escondido in San Diego County.

(Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Nature's way

Two animals at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego County died as the Witch Creek fire imperiled the park in the San Pasqual Valley.

But six more were born: three gazelles, a fringe-eared oryx, a Ugandan kob (an antelope) and a dik-dik (an antelope native to eastern Africa).

-- Tony Perry

NFL union says it's OK to play in San Diego on Sunday

National Football League Players Assn. spokesman Carl Francis said today that union leadership was confident that Sunday's game between the San Diego Chargers and Houston Texans could be played at Qualcomm Stadium without endangering player health or safety.

"We've been in communication with the NFL, and we feel very confident with the information that the San Diego mayor and others have given to the league," Francis said. "We are confident that the game can be played in San Diego on Sunday. We're just following the health guidelines and safety plans in place. We're working closely with the NFL.”

Although the NFL will play its game Sunday, most of the county's organized outdoor athletic activity ground to a halt earlier in the week. The San Diego Unified School District canceled all athletic activity during the weekend. San Diego State University postponed several athletic events, including a Saturday football game against Brigham Young University at Qualcomm. That game has been rescheduled at the stadium for Dec. 1.

San Diego State also postponed men's and women's soccer matches, a cross-country meet and swimming, diving and volleyball competitions. The university plans to reschedule the events or move them to alternative locations.

-- Greg Johnson and Tony Perry