Brush fire burns near SR-76 in Pauma Valley

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SAN DIEGO — A slow-moving brush fire blackened about 50 open acres east of Pala Casino Tuesday, sending plumes of smoke over northeastern San Diego County.

The so-called Agua Fire began spreading off the 13000 block of state Route 76 in the Pauma Valley area about 2:30 p.m., according to Cal Fire.

Within three hours, the flames had blackened an estimated 50 acres, the state agency reported. By then, crews from several area firefighting agencies had the burn area roughly 10 percent contained, officials said.

Containment was about 15 percent as of 9 p.m., according to Cal Fire, which reported that two people were evacuated early in the firefight, but both were allowed to return home after about 90 minutes.

About 150 firefighters along with fixed-wing aircraft and water-dropping helicopters were deployed at one point, officials said.

Five engine companies, a total of about 15 firefighters, were expected to remain on the scene overnight. The number of firefighters was expected to swell to near 100 on Wednesday, according to Cal Fire.

No estimate for full containment was immediately available.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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