A preliminary property damage assessment for the Viejas fire was released by fire officials yesterday. According to Capt. Andy Menshek of the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District, property losses are estimated at $2 million, but he expects that number will increase.
Experts from the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection are busy analyzing field data and compiling reports based on interviews with property owners. In the meantime, the preliminary breakdowns look like this:
· 15 residences damaged or destroyed,
· 65 outbuildings damaged or destroyed,
· 15 trailers damaged or destroyed,
· 64 operable vehicles damaged or destroyed, and
· between 50 and 100 abandoned vehicles damaged or destroyed.
According to fire investigators, the fire started shortly before 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 3 when someone tossed a cigarette butt along the median of Interstate 8. The fire lasted six days and officials estimate that it cost more than $8 million to deploy the resources necessary to put out the fire.
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