Firefighters gain on brush fire burning near Palomar Observatory

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PALOMAR MOUNTAIN, Calif. — A fire that blackened close to 170 acres of brush in a steep, remote area north of the Palomar Observatory was about 50 percent contained this morning, authorities said.

The so-called Cutca Fire broke out for unknown reasons off Palomar Divide Road east of Cutca Valley in the Cleveland National Forest shortly after 4 p.m. Friday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. No structures have been threatened and no injuries have been reported. Area campgrounds remained open.

Forest service officials said the about 425 firefighters working to extinguish the blaze would continue mopping up in the interior of the fire perimiter this morning, and cooler temperatures are expected to assist in the efforts.

Several hot spots remain in an area filled with critically dry chapparel and other fuels.

Motorists in the area were advised to slow down and watch out for firefighting equipment and personnel along the roadway.

The Forest Service said crews expected to have the fire fully contained by midnight Wednesday.

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