California crews ready to help as wildfires rage across Tijuana

11 June 2020

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USA/MEXICO – SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Tijuana fire officials are battling a massive wildfire just east of town along the U.S.-Mexico border, where the flames are literally jumping back and forth between the two countries.

It’s one of the biggest and one of 40 fires reported since Monday that continue to devastate the northern Baja California region just south of San Diego.

Tijuana fire officials said this week’s fires have already consumed as many acres as fires consumed in the entire state all of last year.

“A wildfire is a problem that doesn’t respect international borders,” Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the fire has scorched a few acres north of the border.

One Cal Fire air tanker was called in to drop retardant. For the most part, the fire is staying in Mexico but firefighters are keeping an eye on it just in case winds send the flames back across the border.

“We always go out to at least get another set of eyes on what’s going on with a fire,” Sanchez said. “If we feel it’s going to threaten the border, we’ll send additional resources to be ready for it; we have agreements to cooperate with Mexico to cross a short distance in order to engage fires if needed.”

According to Sanchez, his department and others from California train with their Mexican counterparts and if need be, they’ll share resources.

“They are our neighbors and we treat them just like other cooperating agencies here in California,” he said, adding that if requested, they’ll lend a hand, but so far Mexico has not asked for help.

Tijuana fire officials said four residents have been injured by the fires, including three who were badly burned when a gas tank exploded inside a house. According to reports, two Mexican soldiers died trying to put out one of the fires.

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