An incredible example of the sheriffs’ firefighting capability took place Friday afternoon, August 21, when a lightning strike ignited a wildfire on the hill just north of Magnolia Avenue.
Within minutes after the fire was reported, ASTREA 12, a firefighting helicopter, took off from Gillespie Field. The helicopter first landed and dropped off several firefighters just east of the fire, then went to fill up their water tank. A few minutes later, they returned and sounded their warning siren, alerting the firefighters that they were lined up to make a drop and did so, knocking out the fire completely. Santee firefighters were saved a long and tough hike up the mountain.