Crews battle brush fire near high school

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LAKESIDE, Calif. -- Dozens of firefighters managed to prevent a roughly one-acre brush fire from spreading out of control Tuesday in the area of Willows and Ashwood roads in Lakeside, according to Cal Fire.

A stretch of Ashwood was closed due to the blaze, which never threatened any buildings. The fire sparked next to Cactus County Park. Several Cal Fire engine crews, including volunteer inmate firefighters, worked to contain the fire as air support, including helicopters and air tankers from Ramona, dropped water and retardant around the burn area.

Students from El Capitan High School, which is less than a block from the fire, lined the fence at the park and watched the firefighters do their work. School had just let out.

"It got really big, really fast. It’s kind of scary," said sophomore Awbrey Ponce. "We saw a lot of fire trucks like coming in we saw the helicopter and planes."

By about 2:30 p.m., firefighters had stopped the fire from spreading. They planned to remain on the scene through the evening to put out hot spots and cut containment lines.

"What made this one a little more special was the resources were able to get here so quickly," said Cal Fire Capt. Isaac Sanchez.

Because of all the resources, fire crews were able to gain the upper hand within minutes.

"Based off the fuel, the weather and the conditions we have faced for the last several weeks, this is the response we get," said Sanchez. "Fortunately for us, the wind was blowing in the other direction, essentially blowing it away from the high school."

The cause of the fire is still unclear, but students who witnessed it had their own theories.

"We know there’s a lot of homeless people that live around here, so I mean I’m assuming one of them probably started the fire," Ponce said.

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