A San Diego firefighter’s hose creates a rainbow while battling a brush fire near Adobe Falls Road north of Interstate 8. Photo by Chris Stone

A brush fire that erupted shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday, just off the north side of Interstate 8 near Waring Road — not far from San Diego State University — threatened homes in the Del Cerro neighborhood and for a time closed all lanes on the westbound side of the freeway.

The fire scorched 38 acres in a canyon before crews from San Diego Fire-Rescue and Cal Fire, assisted by three firefighting helicopters, brought the blaze under control. At least 80 homes were evacuated, but none were damaged.

“At least it’s not lava,” said Jason Torralda, whose house was at the western fire line.

“We were given the option to evacuate,” he said as the brush crackled as it burned on the other side of a drainage ditch. He watched the approaching fire from his driveway.

Asked why he didn’t leave, he said he believed that the fire was contained. Torralda said he had lived in the house for three years.

Indeed about a dozen homeowners watched from the road on the edge of the housing development.

Homeowners expressed some anxiety about the proximity to the fire but had faith in the fire department to save their homes

“It’s definitely scary,” said Gale Schoeppler, who watched the blaze from a neighbor’s yard. “We’ve had some in this canyon before, but never this close.”

The brush fire shortly after it began burning, just north of Interstate 8, near San Diego State University. Photo: Emily Jennewein

By 10 p.m., the California Highway Patrol had reopened some westbound ramps to the freeway.

Dubbed the Adobe Fire, the blaze was fought from the ground and air as it neared residences along Adobe Falls Road.

Multiple homes along the street were placed under mandatory evacuations, according to San Diego police Officer John Buttle. There are no immediate reports of damage.

Traffic in the area was delayed. The California Highway Patrol shut down westbound Interstate 8, as well as several roads, including several I-8 on- and offramps and the 125 north transition to I-8 west.

The I-8 shutdown at state Route 125 began about 5:20 p.m. At press time, officials were working to reopen two lanes of traffic on I-8, however there was no time given on when remaining lanes would reopen.

The fire got as close as 10 feet from the westbound lanes of the 8 freeway, dispatchers were told.

The cause of the blaze was unknown but under investigation by the fire and police departments’ Metro Arson Strike Team.

— Staff and wire reports

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