Vegetation fire in Lakeside near Los Coches Road, Interstate 8 knocked down

LAKESIDE, Calif. - A vegetation fire that burned in Lakeside and El Cajon near Los Coches Road and Interstate 8 has been knocked down.

IMAGES: Fire off I-8, Los Coches Road (mobile users:

The fire started in Lakeside at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday. It burned within 50 feet of a Vons store off Los Coches Road.

Cathy Forsman was one of a number of people watching from the Vons parking lot as flames moved down the hillside and toward this strip mall.                

"I'm glad they're doing this because it needs to be done quickly before something goes up," she said.

Thanks to a strong, fast response from Cal Fire and other agencies, nothing but brush did burn.

The fire briefly threatened homes on Lotus Lane and La Cresta Road before it was stopped, according to Cal Fire officials.

"We placed the resources in the appropriate positions along with the aircraft so we handled all of those issues," said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Larry Converse.

He said support from aircraft dropping retardant and water made all the difference. Those aircraft helped inmate crews working on the ground in hot conditions and rugged terrain.

For one woman, who only wanted to be identified as Linda, the sight of flames on the hill behind Vons brought back unpleasant memories from the big fire of 2003 when her house nearly burned down.

"We had to evacuate a couple times about 10 years ago so we were a little bit on edge," she told 10News. "I wanted to make sure we didn't have to go through that again."

That was not the case on Saturday. Fire crews were able to hold the fire to 10 acres.         

"Unified command with the Lakeside Fire Protection District, Heartland Fire-Rescue, Forest Service and everybody around here ... it all came into play," said Converse. "Keeping something under 10 acres with this heat and these conditions right here ... it's very good."

Eastbound freeway traffic was backed up to Greenfield Drive in El Cajon and westbound traffic to Los Coches Road in the unincorporated Lakeside area, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. No structures were damaged and no injuries have been reported.

More details will be posted as they become available.

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