The fire broke out on the east side of Interstate 15 just north of Friars Road before 8 a.m. The flames spread rapidly the steep hillside toward the Village Mission Valley apartments, a large complex at 6560 Ambrosia Drive previously known as La Mirage.
Firefighters immediately deployed engines on the freeway and sent other units to the top of the hill to protect the apartments. A San Diego Fire-Rescue Department helicopter deployed from nearby Montgomery Field stopped the uphill movement of the fire with several water drops. The fire was largely contained to less than an acre by about 8:45 a.m., but firefighters planned to remain at the scene putting out hot spots for several hours.
The far right lane of northbound I-15 was closed to provide access to firefighters. A traffic alert was issued for northbound I-15 through Mission Valley. As of 8:45 a.m., traffic was backed up all the way to University Avenue.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.