Border 32 Fire Lawsuit


The Border 32 Fire ignited on August 31st, 2022, and burned 4,456 acres in San Diego County. It was named the Border 32 Fire for being the thirty-second fire in 2022 near the United States-Mexico border. More than 1500 people were evacuated and at least 19 structures, including RVs, were destroyed. Nearly 400 firefighters and 14 aircraft were involved in the containment effort. 2 civilians sustained moderate to severe burns and 8 firefighters suffered minor injuries. Animals including 25-30 chickens and at least one horse died as a result of the fire. 

The fire was declared 100% contained on September 5th, 2022. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. SDG&E utility poles reportedly sustained fire damage after ignition, causing power outages, though no specific details have emerged to connect or implicate the utility company as responsible for the fire.  

August 31, 2022
Border 32 Fire ignites near Barrett Junction along Highway 94, roughly 3 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border
September 1, 2022
SDG&E submits Safety Incident Report to California Public Utilities Commission
September 5, 2022
Fire is 100% contained (CAL Fire Status Report)

statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit. According to the California Judicial Branch, the statute of limitations for the following legal disputes in California are:

Personal injury: Two years from the injury. If the injury was not discovered right away, then it is 1 year from the date the injury was discovered.

Property damage: Three years from the date the damage occurred.

Investigation and Lawsuits

The Border 32 Fire started at approximately 2:17 pm on August 31st near the intersection of Barrett Lake Road and Highway 94, in the Barrett Junction area. Evacuation orders were immediately put in place and more than 1,500 people were ordered to evacuate in and around Dulzura, Potrero, and Campo. The Tecate border crossing was also closed for several days to keep the traveling public safe from the blaze. 

Firefighters faced temperatures well into the 100s, low humidity, and moderate winds over the course of the 6-day fire. As a result, the fire spread quickly and burned 1,500 acres within the first few hours, and by 10 pm, over 4,000 acres had burned. The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) would later issue a smoke advisory in Dulzura, warning the public that winds were blowing smoke in its direction and that air quality could reach unhealthy levels.  

SDG&E reported a power outage at around 8 pm, saying that the fire had damaged several of their utility poles. More than 400 SDG&E customers lost power. The utility company filed a Safety Incident Report with the CPUC to document the damage. 

Local community members and organizations were quick to provide aid to affected areas. San Diego County Animal Services in conjunction with the San Diego Humane Society were able to rescue over 100 animals from homes and country properties. They also provided temporary shelter for pets who evacuated with their owners.   

The official cause of the Border 32 Fire has not been determined and no related lawsuits have been filed. San Diego County created a Border 32 Fire Recovery Assistance page for those affected by the fire, which includes property damage forms, debris assistance, and more.  

Dulzura, Potero, and Campo have been identified as the three communities that will pilot the California Home Hardening Program, a collaborative effort between the California Office of Emergency Services, CAL FIRE, and local communities. 

According to the website, the initiative “focuses on developing community home hardening programs to retrofit, harden, and create defensible space for homes at high risk to wildfires. This program targets high social-vulnerability communities and provides financial assistance to qualifying low-and moderate-income (LMI) households.” 

During the pilot phase of the program, the focus will be on hardening only a small number of homes with hopes of expanding its reach later on. The program is scheduled to kick off in Dulzura in Summer 2023.