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Four immigrants dead, several in treatment for fire injuries

October 25, 2007 |  7:03 pm

U.S.-Mexico border:

The four charred bodies of suspected illegal immigrants who are believed to have died in the Harris fire were discovered at the bottom of a canyon north of the border town of Tecate, Border Patrol officials said. The location was near an area where four illegal immigrants were rescued Sunday afternoon.

The Harris fire swept through the rugged area east of San Diego that is crisscrossed by hundreds of migrant trails.

Agents on routine patrols Thursday spotted one body 100 yards deep inside a canyon. The other bodies were located nearby. "It's very tragic," said Gloria Chavez, an assistant chief patrol agent based in San Diego.

Even in the best of weather conditions, the steep canyons and mountains make for treacherous treks. Since 2001, at least 30 immigrants have died trying to cross in the area.

About one dozen suspected illegal immigrants burned in the Harris fire are being treated at the UC San Diego Regional Burn Unit. Several remain in critical condition, said Alberto Lozano, a spokesman for the Mexican Consulate in San Diego.

Some of the immigrants, he said, come from the Mexican states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Michoacan and Jalisco.

-- Richard Marosi