Fire crews quickly contained a small fire in Rancho San Diego Friday, much to residents' relief. The fire sparked right in the middle of San Diego's Red Flag warning. NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe reports.
A brush fire burned in Rancho San Diego Friday afternoon, according to the San Miguel Fire Department.
The blaze began shortly after 3 p.m. at Via Antigua and Avenida Anacapa roads near a strip mall. It was burning in vegetation close to homes.
Helicopters responded for water drops and the fire department had multiple engines at the scene. Firefighters had a line between structures and the fire shortly after 4 p.m.
An after school program evacuated roughly 70 children at Rancho San Diego Elementary, according to fire official Melissa Aquino.
The sheriff's department closed the intersection of Calle Albara and Wieghorst Way while deputies redirected traffic. No injuries or damages to structures were reported.
For Rancho San Diego residents, the fire was a close call on a dry, windy day right in the middle of San Diego’s Red Flag fire warning.
“It was big, it was scary,” Rancho San Diego resident Lydia Cruz told NBC 7.
Friday’s fire began about 100-feet from Cruz’s backyard. While she called 911, neighbors pulled a hose through her yard just in case the flames crept closer.
Cruz said her first priority was making sure her family was safe.
“Just get my kids out of the house. That was the first thing I thought about,” she said.
Leonard Villareal with the San Miguel Fire District said multiple fire crews immediately attacked the fire.
"So, we had crews from La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Santee, Lakeside," said Villareal.
In all, two helicopters and 70 firefighters from seven agencies took about an hour to put out the two-and-a-half-acre fire.
While it may have been a smaller-scale fire, on a windy, dry day like Friday, that’s all it takes.
"Every single fire that has made headlines in 2003 and 2007, all started the same way, as small fires. And a small fire can very quickly get out of control, especially when weather and wind are against it," said Villareal.
That’s exactly why Cal Fire has added extra resources for this weekend, including bringing in an additional air tanker from Northern California to be on standby in Ramona.
“So, the idea with conditions on a day like today is you hit it hard, and you hit it fast," added Villareal.
Thanks to quick action from fire crews, Rancho San Diego residents were feeling much better Friday night.
“Relief. Yeah, big relief,” said Cruz.
As of 11 p.m. Friday, there were no other fires burning in San Diego. Still, the Red Flag warning is in full effect.
This weekend marks the nine-year anniversary of the devastating Cedar Fire. Earlier this month was also the five-year anniversary of the fires that destroyed more than 1,600 homes and killed 10 people in San Diego.