This dry seasonal weather has caused every Californian’s nose to tune in to the smell of smoke as a warning of potential devastating wildland fires that have destroyed homes and property in all parts of the state. (In fact, as I write this I can smell smoke from a wildfire in the Santa Cruz Mountains barely two miles from my home. —Bob Difley)
And on Saturday, campers at Pio Pico RV Resort and Campground on Otay Mountain in San Diego County called 911 about 11:20 a.m. to report smelling smoke, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune.
It turned out to be the signal fire of a 25-year-old Mexican citizen who told authorities that he was part of a group that crossed into the United States illegally. He was left behind after he injured his ankle, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Eduardo Olmos said.
Olmos was not sure when the group entered the U.S., but he said it’s common for foot guides to stop for a night or two on the mountain to try to elude authorities.
He said Cal Fire took custody of the man and then transferred him to the Border Patrol. When the man is released from the hospital, agents will take him to a Border Patrol station and process him for immediate removal from the U.S., Olmos said.
Two air tankers and two helicopters were sent, along with several fire rigs, Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez said. It took about an hour to stop the blaze from spreading, he said.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Preston Fouts told OnScene TV a “traveler” who was injured set the fire as a signal to get help. One firefighter suffered an ankle injury, Fouts said.