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Highland Wildfire Threatens Julian Area

A fast-moving wildfire tore through mountainous terrain in eastern San Diego County today, damaging or destroying at least two structures and threatening hundreds of others as it moved toward the landmark former mining town of Julian.

The blaze erupted for unknown reasons shortly after 10:30 a.m. off state Route 78 in the rural Banner area, according to Cal Fire.

Within 2 1/2 hours, the flames had charred roughly 100 acres as crews battled them on the ground and aboard air tankers and water-dropping helicopters, Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said. About 200 homes were immediately threatened, he said.

It was not immediately clear what type of structures were damaged or lost, though broadcast reports specified them as homes on Woodland Road.

Authorities cleared residents out of Kentwood-in-the-Pines and Whispering Pines and set up a temporary shelter for the displaced at Jess Martin County Park on State Route 79.

The California Highway Patrol shut down SR-78 between Wynola and San Felipe Road in the Scissors Crossing area as a public-safety measure.

By 2:30 p.m., firefighters had the burn area roughly 5 percent contained and were making good progress in halting the spread of the flames, Bortisser said.

—City News Service

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