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Illegal immigrants sparked large brush fire, authorities say

September 4, 2010 |  8:11 am


A fire that blackened nearly 900 acres in San Diego County was caused by illegal immigrants who were apparently lost and set off a signal fire.

The Cowboy Fire did not burn any homes or cause injuries. More than 1,300 firefighters battled Friday's blaze.

Authorities said they were still trying to find those who sparked the blaze. The illegal immigrants had called Mexican officials "and advised them that they had been lost for two days, were stranded, dehydrated and were going to light a signal fire to attempt to get some help,'' Cal Fire spokeswoman Roxanne Provaznik told Fox 5 San Diego.

"Investigators from Cal Fire and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined that there was evidence near the area of origin [of the blaze] of illegal aliens traveling through that area, which supports this report," she added.

The fire is now 50% contained.

-- Shelby Grad

[Updated: An earlier version of this post incorrectly called it the Campos Fire. The fire is near Campos but is named the Cowboy Fire.]