Evacuations and road closures are now lifted after a brush fire in Otay Mesa burned almost 500 acres of land and burned through a pallet yard near the border.
No other structures were lost in the fire that broke out just before noon Thursday at Otay Mesa Road and Caliente Avenue. The San Diego Fire Department initially reported that crews stopped forward progress of the fire at around 3 p.m., but the blaze reignited moments later, eventually spreading to a pallet yard. According to fire crews, the pallet yard housed 80,000 pallets.
Thick, black smoke could be seen flooding into the air from Moreno Pallets in Otay Mesa. Four helicopters, two fixed-wing aircraft, four strike teams and the original San Diego Fire first alarm team battled the fire.
The fire started blocks away from San Ysidro High School and Rock Church San Ysidro. The Southwestern College Higher Education Center in Otay Mesa was also evacuated due to the fire. All night classes at Southwestern were canceled. San Ysidro High School was designated as the evacuation center while the American Red Cross provided supplies.
The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District said Thursday that smoke from the fire will have local impact through Friday.
Due to the fire burning in Otay Mesa in San Diego County, localized areas of smoke have occurred in areas of San Diego County. As a result fine particulates, or PM2.5 concentrations, may reach unhealthful levels in some smoke impacted areas. In areas of heavy smoke, assume that air quality levels are unhealthy for sensitive groups to unhealthy for all individuals. In areas with minor smoke impacts, assume that air quality levels range from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups. In areas where you smell smoke it is advised that you limit physical activity. If possible, stay indoors to limit your exposure to fine particulate matter. Air quality levels will be GOOD to UNHEALTHY for SENSITIVE GROUPS throughout the day Friday.
(Photo credit reporting partner 10News)