Fire at Edge of I-15 Covers 12 Acres, Stops Traffic

A helicopter makes a water drop at the side of northbound Interstate 15 as traffic creeps by. Murrieta 24/7 photos: Doug and Kristen Spoon ...

A helicopter makes a water drop at the side of northbound Interstate 15 as traffic creeps by.
Murrieta 24/7 photos: Doug and Kristen Spoon

Riverside County firefighters spent four hours knocking down a fire alongside the northbound shoulder of Interstate 15 in Temecula today, achieving 100 percent containment of a blaze that covered 12 acres by 6 p.m.

The fire originally was reported at 2 p.m. as being six or seven spot fires in the brush just outside the guard rails of the freeway, adjacent to the golf course at Temecula Creek Inn south of Temecula Parkway. As firefighters moved in, northbound lanes of the freeway were shut down, leaving hundreds of motorists stopped between Rainbow Valley Boulevard and Temecula Parkway.

Eventually CHP officers closed the northbound on-ramp at Rainbow Valley Boulevard and re-routed traffic north through the hills on Rainbow Valley, also known as Old Highway 395. Meanwhile, 14 fire engine companies, a water-dropping helicopter and correctional inmates brought in to help the ground crew fought to contain the spot fires, which soon grew together.

Thick smoke filled the air as guests and golfers at the nearby Temecula Creek Inn watched from a distance and took cell phone pictures. A shed and some golf carts were destroyed and one firefighter suffered moderate injuries.

Northbound lanes except for the No. 4 lane were re-opened some time after 3 p.m. and the other lane was expected to re-open about 8 p.m.

Cause of the fire is under investigation. A similar brush fire on the opposite side of the freeway less than a mile south occurred June 4.





Here's our video report:





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