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Great Fire” Near Julian Now 65% Contained

Crews working to quell a 2,000-acre wildfire in the East County highlands had the remote burn area roughly 65 percent contained by late this afternoon.

The so-called Great Fire, which erupted about 1 p.m. Saturday near Shelter Valley, east of Julian, was no longer spreading as of this morning, according to Cal Fire.

Ground and airborne personnel were making steady progress in extinguishing the blaze, Nick Schuler, a battalion chief for the state agency, said this afternoon.

No injuries or structural damage have been reported, though about two dozen buildings at the edges of Mastro Trailer Ranch east of Banner Grade were threatened for a time over the weekend.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

On Sunday, the sheriff's department used a "reverse 911'' automated telephone system to notify residents in several subdivisions east and south of Julian to get ready to evacuate. The alert remained in effect today.

"We are only advising people to leave right now, not ordering them. ... This is only an advisory, and the public should not panic,'' Cal Fire Captain Mike Mohler said. "We are asking that these areas please be prepared if asked to leave and not wait until the last minute.''

Affected locales included Whispering Pines and subdivisions along State Route 78 in the Banner Grade area.

Homes and businesses near historic Main Street in Julian were not included in the evacuation notification.

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