SAN DIEGO -- Firefighters prevented a brush fire on hillside just north of Qualcomm Stadium from damaging homes Monday.

The fire was first reported just after 10 a.m. burning up a steep hillside near Mission Village Drive and Friars Road. It was apparently sparked by a cigarette.

Fire crews deployed on top of the hill to protect homes and other crews began attacking the flames from below. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's  firefighting helicopter filled up in the San Diego River and made repeated water drops on the fire.

By 10:30, crews had stopped the spread of the flames and were mopping up hot spots. The fire blackened about an acre of the steep hillside, but no structures were damaged.