Crews keep brush fire from spreading through East County neighborhood

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SAN DIEGO — A brush fire burned around 15 acres in an East County canyon and threatened homes early Wednesday afternoon, but crews were able to stop the blaze from spreading through the neighborhood.

The fire sparked in Rancho San Diego around 12:30 p.m., in the canyon near Jamacha and Campo roads. The flames were spreading at a “dangerous rate” and threatening homes along Avenida Roberta and Calle Los Arboles, Cal Fire San Diego said a short time later.

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The agency told people “to evacuate if in the area or if you feel threatened,” and authorities set up a temporary meeting point at the nearby Regal Edwards movie theater on Jamacha Road.

But by 2 p.m., Cal Fire Capt. Thomas Shoots told FOX 5 that conditions were looking “much better,” and that the forward spread of the flames had been stopped at around 15 acres. The progress came thanks to an aggressive firefight, both on ground and by sky.

Firefighters ran hose lines through residents’ backyards and sprayed down the hillside, driving flames back from the neighborhood, while at least one helicopter and large airplane dropped water and flame retardant.

Avenida Roberta was closed between Del Rio Road and Calle Los Arboles to give crews room to work and keep residents safe, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said.

Santa Ana winds blowing throughout Southern California have spiked fire danger and prompted weather warnings in recent days. Coastal areas were expected to see winds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts of up to 40 mph Wednesday. Forecasters expect the gusts to weaken by about 10 mph into the evening, becoming light by Thursday.

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