Nearly 400 firefighters battle wildfire near Temecula

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Credit: Esme Flores

RAINBOW VALLEY, Calif. – Nearly 400 firefighters Sunday battled a freeway-side fire, which grew from 70 to 139 acres overnight on the San Diego-Riverside county line.

Crews started fighting the blaze shortly before noon Saturday, along the shoulder of southbound Interstate 15 just south of Temecula Parkway, Riverside County fire officials said. That location is just north of the county line.

The fire was originally reported at 15 acres, but it quickly spread.

The new blaze was near a fire in Pala, at the northern edge of San Diego County. The Pala Fire ravaged more than 40 acres this week, which fire crews have been battling since Monday.

Just north of the county line, the new Temecula Fire was about 30 percent contained overnight, fire officials said Sunday. Only vegetation has been destroyed by the blaze and no structures have been threatened.

Fire officials said they hope that cooler weather Sunday will help slow the fire down. The National Weather Service predicted highs within the upper 80s Sunday. Parts of Riverside County reached triple digits on Saturday, possibly aiding in the spread of the fire.

Heavy traffic was expected to plague the 15 Freeway from Riverside County south towards San Diego throughout the day. Two right lanes were closed going up the hill south of Temecula Parkway, to just south of Rainbow Valley Boulevard as of 9 a.m.