North County brush fire forces 200 to evacuate

SAN DIEGO -- A brush fire broke out along the freeway in Rancho Bernardo late Thursday afternoon.

The fire was reported around 4:30 p.m. and burned near Bernardo Drive and the 15 Freeway, near Rancho Bernardo Community Park and Lake Hodges.

The blaze grew to 10 acres before crews stopped the forward rate of spread.

Cal Fire and Escondido Fire crews were called to assist SDFD. Two helicopters also performed air drops on the blaze.

Crews took defensive measures as flames briefly towered within yards of residential buildings, and 200 people were told to evacuate their homes. Shortly after 6 p.m., SDFD said that the fire had been stopped from spreading further and that people would be allowed to return home soon.

Northbound and southbound I-15 off-ramps at West Bernardo Drive are closed to westbound traffic, according to Caltrans.

Smoke slowed rush hour traffic on both sides of the freeway.

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