CAMPO, Calif. – A fire that burned 11 homes and killed an elderly man who refused to evacuate was smoldering in rural San Diego County on Tuesday, but gusty afternoon winds could push it back to life, authorities said.
Nearly 1,000 firefighters planned an all-out effort to surround the blaze, which continued to threaten nearly a dozen homes and 14 outbuildings in the rural community of Tierra del Sol near the U.S.-Mexico border, said fire spokesman Andy Menshek.
On Monday, the body of an elderly man was retrieved from a burned home in Tierra del Sol. Neighbors reported the home’s resident missing when they saw his only vehicle parked at the home, authorities said.
San Diego County coroner’s officials said Tuesday the man is believed to be a 69-year-old resident, but they still haven’t identified the victim and have yet to perform an examination.
Neighbors said the man decided to remain.
“He felt that he was going to be OK if he stayed,” sheriff’s Lt. Rose Kurupas said.
Other blazes in the West remained active, blanketing some communities in Washington with smoke. The air quality in many Wenatchee and Cashmere areas was deemed either “hazardous” or “unhealthy” by state officials.
Authorities there updated the sizes of two of the state’s largest fires after more accurate mapping and burnouts to create fire lines, officials said. The Wenatchee complex of fires was reported at 82 square miles, while the Table Mountain fire had burned nearly 57 square miles.