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Firefighters Gaining Control Of Fire Burning Near Julian

A 2,000-acre brush fire in the Julian area was 40 percent contained today, and the rural mountaintop resort remained open for business even as nearby residents were being told to be ready to move out, according to Cal Fire.

The so-called Great Fire started just before 1 p.m. Saturday on the south side of Highway 78 and Scissors Crossing, east of Julian and near Shelter Valley, Cal Fire reported.

As of 8 a.m. today, the blaze was 40 percent contained and not spreading, said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler.

On Sunday afternoon, sheriff's deputies used an automated telephone system called "reverse 911" to notify residents in several subdivisions east and south of Julian to get ready to evacuate. The advisory remained in effect today, according to Cal Fire.

"We are only advising people to leave right now, not ordering them," said Cal Fire Captain Mike Mohler. The homes and businesses near historic Main Street in Julian were not included in the evacuation advisory.

"This is only an advisory and the public should not panic. We are asking that these areas please be prepared if asked to leave and not wait until the last minute," Mohler said.

Affected areas included the Whispering Pines and other subdivisions south of Julian and east of Highway 79, and subdivisions along Highway 78 in the Banner Grade area east of the Julian fire station.

Th town of Julian, which thrives on tourism, was not affected, Schuler said, noting that shoppers were welcome to go there today.

No home or business losses in the affected areas have been reported but 25 structures at the edges of Mastro Trailer Ranch on Highway 78, east of Banner Grade, were threatened, according to Cal Fire.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

The stricken area is owned by California State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management.

Cal Fire reported that about 1,400 fire personnel were working to put out the blaze by ground and air.

Highway 78 between Wynola Road and Scissors Crossing was closed.

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