Harris Fire

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Harris Fire
Aerial View of Harris Fire 10-23-07 1 pm.jpg
Aerial view of the Harris Fire on October 23, 2007, at 12:05 PM PDT
LocationPotrero, San Diego, California
Cost>$21 million (2007 USD)[1]
Date(s)October 21, 2007 – November 16, 2007[2]
Burned area90,440 acres (366 km2)[1]
Buildings destroyed
  • 253 residential structures
  • 2 commercial properties
  • 293 outbuildings
Deaths8 civilians[3]
Non-fatal injuries21 civilians
40 firefighters[1]

The Harris Fire was a major wildfire in southern San Diego County that began on October 21, 2007, which burned 90,440 acres (366.0 km2) in southeastern San Diego County before it was contained on November 5. Hotspots persisted until the fire was extinguished on November 16, making the Harris Fire the last of the October 2007 California wildfires to be extinguished.[2] As the Harris Fire burned, it traveled in a northwest direction from its starting point at Harris Ranch Road in the town of Potrero, located in the far south of San Diego County, near Tecate, Mexico. The wildfire was the second-largest one of the October 2007 California wildfires, behind only the Witch Fire.[1] The cause of the Harris Fire is unknown.[1] The Harris Fire was the deadliest one of the October 2007 wildfires, killing eight people.[3]

The fire[edit]

The Harris Fire burning on Mount San Miguel, on the morning of October 23, 2007

At 9:23 AM PDT on October 21, 2007, the Harris Fire ignited in Potrero, southeastern San Diego County, near the Mexican border.[1]

On October 23, the fire approached eastern Chula Vista.[4]

The fire resulted in the evacuation of some nearby communities, with evacuation centers set up at a nearby high school and a community center.[5]

Thomas James Varshock, 52, of Potrero, died on his property during the Harris Fire on Sunday. His teenage son suffered burn injuries, along with four firefighters of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, who had attempted to rescue them.[6] The fire may also have led to the deaths of four illegal aliens near the U.S.–Mexico border.[7] An estimated 1,210 firefighters battled this fire.[8]

The Harris Fire also burned into northern Mexico, near the city of Tecate.[9]

On November 5, 2007, the Harris Fire was 100% contained.[3] Hotspots persisted within the perimeter of the fire until November 16, when the last hotspot was finally extinguished.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Harris Fire". CAL FIRE. 5 November 2007. Archived from the original on 13 September 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Peter Rowe; J. Harry Jones (October 22, 2017). "Searing lessons: how the 2007 wildfires changed San Diego County". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "California Fire Siege 2007: An Overview" (PDF). 8 January 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  4. ^ Anne Krueger, Leonel Sanchez and Ray Huard (22 October 2007). "Harris fire burning unchecked, heads for Otay Lakes and Chula Vista". Signonsandiego.com. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009.
  5. ^ Neely, Liz and David Hasemyer and Karen Kucher (October 22, 2007). "Harris fire roars unchecked in East County - 700 residents flee Barrett Junction". SignOnSanDiego.com. San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on October 23, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
  6. ^ "Heroics in failed San Diego fire rescue". United Press International. October 23, 2007. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  7. ^ "4 charred bodies in Calif. migrant camp". AP via Yahoo! news. October 25, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  8. ^ "Harris fire update 8:16pm October 23, 2007". SignOnSanDiego.com. San Diego Union Tribune. October 23, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  9. ^ "KPBS Google Map". Google.com. October 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-24.

External links[edit]