Cal Fire: San Pasqual Fire Now 40 Percent Contained

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Fire trucks on Route 78 in the San Pasqual Valley. Courtesy Cal Fire

A wildfire that erupted Friday near San Diego Zoo Safari Park was now estimated at more than 300 acres and inched up to 40 percent containment Saturday, fire officials said.

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More accurate mapping showed the fire to have burned 360 acres by Saturday afternoon, according to Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez. The fire had been estimated at 240 acres and 15 percent containment as of 6 a.m. Saturday.

Crews will remain in the area through the weekend, getting lines of containment around all the charred terrain and making sure all hot spots are snuffed out, Sanchez said.

The blaze started for unknown reasons off the 17000 block of state Route 78 in the San Pasqual Valley shortly before 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Within 90 minutes, the blaze had burned across more than 200 acres, forcing residential evacuations and the shutdown of part a rural highway, as ground and airborne crews scramble to corral the fast-moving flames.

By 7:30 p.m. Friday the fire’s progress was halted and most of the active flames were doused, Cal Fire reported.

As the flames spread rapidly to the southeast, authorities shut down state Route 78 between Bandy Canyon and Ramona Highlands roads as a safety precaution and to expedite the firefighting operations in the rural area. State Route 78 is expected to remain closed between Bandy Canyon and Haverford roads until further notice, according to Cal Fire and state transportation officials.

Sheriff’s deputies cleared people out of homes potentially in the path of the fire. Vacated areas include neighborhoods along Via Cuesta; Via Vista Grande; Prestige Street; Day Star Way; Oak Grove, Rancho Villa, Rangeland, Rustic Villa and Weekend Villa roads; and Cinque Terre, Corniglia, Highland Hills, Horizon View and Rio Maggiore drives.

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The displaced residents were encouraged to wait out the fire at Ramona High School.

Administrators at San Pasqual Academy, a secondary school for foster teens near the origin point of the fire, decided on their own to evacuate the campus Friday, police said.

So far, the blaze has not caused any structural damage or injuries.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

–City News Service

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