Cal Fire personnel survey the burned motor home and the brush fire burning in the distance. Courtesy Cal Fire

A brush fire that ignited Saturday on Route 79 north of Santa Ysabel threatened homes and forced some residents to evacuate the rural area.

A motor home caught fire on state Route 79 north of state Route 78 about 11:30 a.m. and flames spread into the vegetation near the roadway, according to Cal Fire San Diego.

As of 7 p.m. the fire had scorched 173 acres and was 17% contained, but Route 79 was open to one-way traffic, Cal Fire officials said.

At 4:20 p.m., the fire was at 0% containment, and Route 79 had been closed for several hours.

A firefighting helicopter developed engine failure and made a precautionary landing. All air tankers were released or put on hold. No structures were damaged.

“The jump in acreage is due to a more accurate assessment of the fire’s perimeter from the air,” Cal Fire said in a tweet. “Fire spread has been minimal in the past hour.”

Deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department helped residents of School House Canyon Road evacuate nearby homes threatened by the blaze.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. and 9:35 p.m. July 3, 2021

City News Service contributed to this report.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.