Agua Fire on San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Agua Fire 2018

On Tuesday, November 27, at approximately 9 AM a fire broke out on an easement next to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge near Proctor Valley on Agua Vista Drive in Chula Vista.

 The fire continued to burn north for about 90 minutes towards the base of Mount San Miguel on the refuge, burning approximately 44 acres before the forward rate of spread was stopped. No evacuations were ordered and no homes were burned. 

With 15% humidity and shifting winds, this fire could have been much worse if it not for the quick and unified response by the City of Chula Vista Fire Department, Cal Fire San Diego, USFWS Engine 8331, and assistance from Heartland Fire. 

Two helicopters dipped out of the upper Otay Reservoir for water drops, and two air tankers dropped retardant, which gave the firefighters on the ground an upper-hand. After crews contained the fire, USFWS Engine 8331 stayed behind to continue mopping up and monitoring throughout the afternoon.

Engine 8331 and Refuge staff will return tomorrow to survey the burned landscape and assess the extent of the resource damage. The fire is currently contained, but not controlled. 

Investigators determined the Agua Fire was caused from defensible space clearing, or brush-clearing activities around the new housing development.


The nearby Mother Miguel Trail  did not burn, and it remains open.


Photo by Matt Pecos/USFWS