Investigators: Backhoe sparked huge Bernardo Fire

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A backhoe in use at a housing construction project near Rancho Bernardo sparked the first large wildfire to erupt in San Diego County this week, authorities reported Friday.

The so-called Bernardo Fire erupted about 11 a.m. Tuesday off Nighthawk Lane in 4S Ranch amid hot, dry and gusty conditions.

Pushed to the west and north by stiff Santa Ana winds, the flames blackened nearly 1,600 acres between Rancho Penasquitos and Rancho Santa Fe, prompting thousands of evacuations but not causing structural damage or serious injuries, according to Cal Fire.

On Wednesday, some of the crews working to subdue the blaze had to divert to other large local wildfires, include ones that destroyed homes and other structures in Carlsbad and San Marcos.

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