Wind-stoked flames tore over open swaths of land in 4S Ranch, Black Mountain Ranch and surrounding areas today, blackening hundreds of acres and forcing residential evacuations but causing no immediate injuries or structural damage.
The blaze erupted for unknown reasons shortly after 10:30 a.m. near Del Norte High School, off Camino San Bernardo Nighthawk Lane, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
By early afternoon, the flames had blackened about 300 open acres as it moved to the west amid hot, dry and gusty Santa Ana conditions toward Del Sur, Santa Luz and Fairbanks Ranch, according to Cal Fire. Crews from an array of area agencies attacked the flames on the ground and aboard air tankers and water-dropping helicopters.
About 1 p.m., school administrators began evacuating pupils from Stone Ranch and Willow Grove elementary schools by bus, Poway Unified School District officials said. Students at the high school near the point of the fire's origin and at nearby Oak Valley middle school were directed to remain in their classrooms as a precaution, PUSD spokeswoman Jessica Wakefield said.
No serious air quality issues were reported at any of the campuses, though the smoke was fairly thick at Del Sur Elementary, she said at midday.
As of 2 p.m., authorities had cleared out residents and closed traffic lanes along Camino del Sur, Entrada de Luz East, Del Sur Court, Run of the Knolls, Deer Ridge Road and San Dieguito Road in the area of Montien Road, according to San Diego police.
Evacuees were being directed to Torrey Pines High School on Del Mar Heights Road.
—City News Service