Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Public Safety

Brush Fire Near Palomar Mountain 20 Percent Contained

A wildfire scorches across the Palomar Mountain area, July 24, 2015.
10News
A wildfire scorches across the Palomar Mountain area, July 24, 2015.
A Cal Fire firefighter from Riverside helps fight the Cutca fire near Palomar Mountain in the Cleveland National Forest, July 24, 2015.
Cal Fire Riverside
A Cal Fire firefighter from Riverside helps fight the Cutca fire near Palomar Mountain in the Cleveland National Forest, July 24, 2015.

UPDATE 7 a.m. Sunday:

In a Sunday morning update on the Cutca fire, the National Forest Service put the size of the fire at 167 acres, down from 200 acres. It said the brush fire, which broke out Friday afternoon in the Cleveland National Forest near Palomar Mountain, is 20 percent contained.

The 544 firefighters working the blaze overnight experienced temperatures in the high 50s. No structures are threatened, but crews are in the community and at the Palomar Observatory to protect them should conditions change.

Forest Service personnel also plan to hold a public meeting about the fire at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Palomar Mountain Fire Station 79, 21619 Crestline Road. (An earlier post had the incorrect day for the meeting. Forest Service says in a tweet it is Sunday.)

UPDATE 8 p.m. Saturday:

The National Forest Service said 500 firefighters are battling the Cutca fire that broke out Friday afternoon near Palomar Mountain.

Campgrounds in the Cleveland National Forest remain open, with Forest Service keeping campers informed about the 200-acre brush fire.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Saturday:

Although not threatened by the brush fire burning near Palomar Mountain, the Palomar Observatory decided to close on Saturday, according to its website.

Earlier, the Cleveland National Forest said the observatory would be open on Saturday.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m. Saturday:

By late Saturday morning, the Cutca fire remained at 200 acres and was 2 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service. No structures were threatened.

The brush fire is burning in remote terrain in the Palomar Mountain area of the Cleveland National Forest. The blaze is being attacked by air as the terrain is making access difficult for firefighters on the ground.

Forest Service spokeswoman Olivia Walker said the overnight weather conditions, including a high dewpoint, may have contributed to the slow progression of the fire. But she said those conditions could change on Saturday and make fighting the fire more difficult.

The high temperature on Palomar Mountain is expected to be 79 on Saturday, with a low overnight of 67. Winds should be about 10 mph.

The fire is burning east and not threatening the Palomar Observatory, which was open on Saturday. The Forest Service said it had firefighters stationed there in case the winds shift.

UPDATE 7:30 a.m. Saturday:

The brush fire that started Friday afternoon near Palomar Mountain was holding steady at 200 acres, Cleveland National Forest reported in a tweet Saturday morning. It was 2 percent contained.

No structures are threatened by the fire, which has been dubbed the Cutca fire.

UPDATE 11 p.m. Friday:

The Palomar Observatory was not threatened, but firefighters were there in case the Cutca fire shifts south, Cleveland National Forest officials said. At this time, the fire is moving east.

About 200 firefighters were battling the blaze. Assisting Cleveland National Forest firefighters were crews from San Bernardino and Angeles national forests, Cal Fire in San Diego and Riverside, and North County fire agencies.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m. Friday:

The fire has burned 200 acres near Palomar Mountain, according to Cleveland National Forest. Authorities said it is 0 percent contained as crews work overnight.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A wildfire of unknown origin that spread over remote terrain in the Palomar Mountain area late Friday has burned an estimated 75 to 100 acres, authorities said.

The blaze, dubbed the Cutca fire, broke out off Palomar Divide Road in Cleveland National Forest shortly after 4 p.m., according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Crews aboard air tankers and firefighting helicopters worked to suppress the flames, which posed no immediate structural threats, Forest Service spokeswoman Olivia Walker said.

Due to the ruggedness of the area, ground crews were unable to reach the site and were being brought in by helicopter, Cleveland National Forest officials said.

A night crew was coming from Los Angeles, officials said, but they were not from the Los Angeles city or county fire departments, according to officials at those agencies.

Cal Fire posted on Twitter it is assisting in fighting the fire north of the Palomar Observatory.

KPBS staffers Hoa Quach, Maya Trabulsi and Laura Wingard contributed to this report.