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Hundreds of firefighters battle Palomar Mountain blaze

More than 425 firefighters battled a wildfire on Palomar Mountain on Saturday, with 20% containment.

More than 425 firefighters battled a wildfire on Palomar Mountain on Saturday, with 20% containment.

(Brandy Carlos)

More than 425 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection continued to battle a brushfire in steep and virtually inaccessible terrain on Palomar Mountain on Saturday, with smoke visible in northern San Diego County and southern Riverside County.

As a precaution, the Palomar Observatory run by Caltech was closed Saturday, although the observatory was not threatened, officials said.

By nightfall, the fire was estimated at 167 acres and 20% contained. Two crews of “hotshots,” experts in mountain firefighting, were inserted by helicopter, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction for the area to discourage anyone from flying a personal aircraft or drone above the fire.

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Much of the fire is in the Cutca Valley and south of Long Canyon, two miles north of the observatory, in the Cleveland National Forest. No cause has been determined.

No structures are threatened, and there have been no evacuations ordered. Campgrounds remain open.

The Forest Service has set a public meeting for Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Palomar Mountain Fire Station 79 on Crestline Road to discuss the fire with campers and residents.

Twitter: @LATsandiego

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