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S.D. County wildfires burn 15,500 acres, near full containment

August 16, 2012 |  9:50 am

Substantial progress has been made toward containing the five blazes of the Vallecito Lightning Complex fire that have burned 15,525 acres in northeast San Diego County, Cal Fire said Thursday.

The three smaller blazes have been contained, while the 8,000-acre Wilson fire, west of Borrego Springs, is 65% contained, and the 7,000-acre Stewart fire, east of Highway 78 and south of Grapevine Canyon, is 50% contained.

Still, firefighters Thursday were working to establish fire lines over terrain that is rough and difficult to reach, Cal Fire said. Evacuation orders continue in the communities of Ranchita and San Felipe.

The five fires were started by lightning strikes east of Julian. Although 400 structures have been threatened, none have been damaged. Power lines to Borrego Springs, Warner Springs and Ranchita are also imperiled.

More than 1,400 firefighters and 79 engines are battling the blazes, backed by 15 helicopters, including eight from the Marine Corps and three from the U.S. Navy.

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--Tony Perry in San Diego

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