Catalytic converter blamed for causing SR-52 brush fire

SAN DIEGO – A catalytic converter on a vehicle traveling along state Route 52 in Tierrasanta Thursday sparked several roadside brush fires that scorched a total of about two acres and caused congestion in the area.

The blazes erupted on the south side of the freeway near Santo Road shortly before 9:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

Ground crews and personnel aboard firefighting aircraft had the flames under control within a half-hour, said Monica Munoz, spokeswoman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The blaze forced a closure of the right-hand eastbound lane on the freeway through late morning, according to the CHP, which issued a congestion alert for the area.