UPDATE at 8:00 a.m. PT, May 25:
The fire has burned 2,500 acres and is 20% contained. The evacuations in the Shelter Valley area have been lifted. Highways S-2 and 78 have been reopened. The photo below was taken at 9:04 a.m. PT, May 25.
UPDATED at 7:07 p.m. PT, May 24, 2012
A fire in the desert east of Julian, California (map) is spreading rapidly and causing evacuations in the Shelter Valley area. As of 5:45 p.m. PT, May 24, CAL FIRE was calling the Banner fire 1,200 acres. A strong west wind is pushing the fire onto Granite Mountain while approximately 100 homes are being evacuated in Shelter Valley. The fire is near Scissors Crossing close to the intersection of Highways S-2 and 78.
By 10 p.m. Thursday the relative humidity should increase to 76 percent, which will have a dampening effect on the fire. The minimum relative humidity on Friday will be around 39, which is pretty high for the desert. The wind is expected to continue into Friday night, blowing at 20 mph Thursday night gusting to 31, and increasing during the day on Friday, peaking at 31 mph and gusting to 49.
Many firefighting resources are at scene or responding, including 40 engines, 6 air tankers, 6 helicopters, and 8 hand crews. One strike team of engines is coming from northern California.
A web camera on Mt. Laguna is pointed toward the fire.
Thanks go out to Lone Ranger