Highway collision sparks brush fire in East County

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SAN DIEGO — Firefighters stopped the spread of a six-acre brush fire Sunday in Guatay, an area in eastern San Diego County near Descanso.

The blaze had burned six acres and was 76 percent contained by 4 p.m., Cal Fire tweeted.

It started around 11 a.m., after a traffic collision between a motorcycle and vehicle took place on Highway 79, near the Green Valley Campground in Guatay.

“Parts of the motorcycle came off that were hot and then landed in the grass,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Kurt Zingheim said.

The incident resulted in a small vegetation fire.

Firefighters initially reported that the fire was approximately five acres and was burning light flashy fuels with a rapid rate of speed. Later, Cal Fire tweeted that the blaze had spread but was still under 10 acres.

Cal Fire worked to contain the blaze both in the air and on the ground.

A hiker in the area said their group was concerned when they spotted smoke.

“We were just in the mountains and saw a bunch of smoke billowing out and we did have to kind of stop and decide which direction we were going to go,” Zeke Mutesha said. “We weren’t sure where the fire had began or where it was going.”

The group did not have service and lacked access to information regarding the blaze.

Traffic was closed in both directions of Highway 79. The California Highway Patrol escorted traffic through the area.

By noon, the forward spread of the fire had been stopped. Cal Fire expected to keep crews in the area overnight to continue mopping up hot spots.

“We were able to identify which trails were affected and state parks took care of any of those issues,” Zingheim said about the fire’s damage.

No injuries were reported in the crash.

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