A wildfire blackened large swaths of hilly open terrain east of Ramona Wednesday, prompting residential evacuations as ground and airborne crews worked to subdue the flames.
The blaze erupted for unknown reasons shortly before 12:30 p.m. near Casner Road and state Route 78 in the rural Witch Creek area, Cal Fire reported.
Deputies advised the residents of homes on or near Rancho Ballena Road to evacuate as a precaution while ground crews and personnel aboard air tankers and water-dropping helicopters fought the fire, according to the state agency and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
A temporary shelter for the displaced was established at Olive Peirce Middle School on Hanson Lane in Ramona.
Authorities also shut down SR-78 from Rancho Santa Teresa Drive to the town of Santa Ysabel, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Within three hours, crews had halted the spread of the flames at about 180 acres, Cal Fire advised. The blaze caused no structural damage or injuries, according to the state agency.
The closure of the highway had been lifted as of shortly before 4 p.m., according to sheriff’s officials, who asked motorists to exercise extra caution in the area until emergency personnel could clear the scene.
Updated at 5:23 p.m. July 27, 2022
City News Service contributed to this article.