ALPINE – Fire crews worked Saturday to extinguish four brush fires along Interstate 8 between Alpine and Pine Valley that may have been sparked by a vehicle’s faulty catalytic converter.
Callers began reporting the fires to the California Highway Patrol around 10:15 a.m.
One of the brush fires, in the Cleveland National Forest east of Willows Road, was described as about the size as a vehicle. Smoke was visible from the Border Patrol checkpoint on eastbound Interstate 8 about three miles east of Pine Valley, according to the CHP.
Minutes later, a second fire was reported about two miles to the east of the first, and then a and a third fire was spotted east of the checkpoint. A fourth fire also broke out in the area.
CHP officials said that a malfunctioning catalytic converter on an unknown vehicle may have caused the fires.
As of about 11:35 a.m., crews had contained three of the brush fires, Cleveland National Forest spokeswoman Wende Cornelius said.
Firefighters were working to get the upper hand on one of the fires on the north side of the freeway, which had grown to about 6-8 acres and was spreading at a moderate rate, Cornelius said. Firefighters and the CHP have blocked one westbound lane on Interstate 8 near Willows Road, according to the CHP.