A small brush fire burned very close to several Spring Valley homes on Wednesday morning.
The blaze started burning around 11 a.m. in the 1400 block of Coronado Avenue of the Dictionary Hill neighborhood. By noon, as many as 5 acres were charred by the flames, which moved rapidly through the dry grass and brush on the surrounding hillside. The fire engulfed much of the neighborhood in a large plume of smoke.
CalFire had resources located very near by and were sending helicopters to pull water from the Sweetwater Reservoir to help fight the fire, San Miguel Fire Department spokesman Leonard Villareal said.
A fire truck arrived at 11:22 to battle the fire; 10 minutes later, that engine had been joined by other firefighters on the ground. Large flames could be seen burning very close to the structures. Villareal pointed out that several of the homes have elevated balconies that the flames could spread under if the brush was not cleared away prior to the fire's start.
By 11:35 a.m., it appeared that the flames were mostly out near the buildings that were threatened; several of the structures appeared to have benefited from fences installed about 10 feet out from their balconies. Wind, however, pushed the flames away from the homes that were initially threatened, and the fire spread uphill and across a large open hillside toward other residences.
Fire crews on the ground -- aided by a firefighting helicopter that arrived at about 11:40 a.m. and started making water drops, which was joined by a second aircraft a short time later -- began to get a handle on the blaze by 11:50 a.m., and it appeared that most of the houses in the area were out of danger by noon. Villareal confirmed shortly after noon that the fire was nearly contained.
It's not yet clear if there were any injuries attributable to the fire, nor is it known if any of the structures were damaged by fire.