Julian cancels July 4th parade because of fire

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JULIAN, Calif. — A wildfire that burned more than 200 acres and destroyed two homes in the mountains of East County prompted the historic town of Julian to cancel its 21st annual Fourth of July parade.

The Banner Fire broke out at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday and grew overnight to 217 acres, Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said. Fire crews spent the Independence Day holiday mopping up hot spots and extending the containment line with bulldozers and hand tools. As of Friday evening, the fire was 70 percent contained, Bortisser said.

Evacuation orders for the Whispering Pines and Kentwood neighborhoods near Julian were lifted at 8 p.m. Thursday, Bortisser said, but state Route 78 continued to be closed between Julian High School and Scissors Crossing.

The fire started off state Route 78 in the rural Banner Grade area, but the cause was under investigation.

The flames spread rapidly to the west, leveling two homes and threatening at least 200 others,  Bortisser said. An outbuilding also was destroyed, he said.