First responders quickly douse wildfire in Mission Trails Park
The Kwaay Paay Peak area at Mission Trails Regional Park was reported in flames at about 2:15 on June 12. Hikers and users of the park were able to get safely and quickly out of the area.
Neighbors gathered at various points in Santee and along Mission Gorge road to watch the three helicopters and two fixed-winged aircraft drop retardant and water on the flames. Firefighters from San Diego and Heartland Fire battled the blaze quickly. The flames crested the peak by 3:15, but the breeze was light, cool and from the west, aiding firefighters to prevent the flames from jumping, but the wildfire burned 95 acres. A crew stayed overnight to contain the fire and guard against hot spots. The exact cause of the fire was not yet determined.
Due to the damage from the fires the Climbers Loop, Kwaay Paay and north portion of the Oak Grove Loop are closed until further notice. But, the Visitor Center, 50 miles of trails and the Kumeyaay Lake Campground is open for visitors and campers.
Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the largest open space urban parks in the nation, encompassing 5,800 acres of both natural and developed recreational area. Started in 1974, the park was originally land used by the Kumeyaay. It is also the site of the Old Mission Dam, built by missionaries in 1815 to store water for the Mission San Diego de Alcala.