Crews get a handle on brush fire burning near North County freeway


SAN MARCOS, Calif. — Firefighters battled a 7-acre bush fire that shut down freeway lanes in North County early Saturday afternoon.

The fire broke out in San Marcos some time around noon, with brush burning near Interstate 15 in the community of Deer Springs, San Marcos Fire Department said. Gusty winds threatened to spread the flames further, but an aggressive firefight from aircraft and on ground held the fire at bay.

Firefighters were able to stop the fire’s forward rate of progress at 7 acres by 2:05 p.m., according to Cal Fire. There was no immediate threat to buildings in the area.

By Sunday morning, the fire was at 80% containment, Cal Fire announced in a tweet. The agency said crews would remain at the scene through the day to mop up remaining hot spots, urging the public to drive with caution in the area.

Authorities shut down the southbound side of I-15 at Gopher Canyon Road while they worked on the blaze. After briefly reopening two lanes to let traffic through the area, Caltrans closed all southbound lanes again and started diverting traffic off the freeway.

By 3:05 p.m., two lanes on the freeway had reopened, according to Cal Fire.

Cal Fire San Diego crews were working alongside the local department to fight the flames, SMFD said. North County Fire Protection District was also assisting the firefighters.

Debris from a faulty catalytic converter was found in the area, and is suspected to be the cause of the fire, according to a Cal Fire spokesman.

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