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Fire Officials Determine Cause of Now-Contained Temecula Fire

The Santa fire broke out Wednesday afternoon, sending smoke into the Temecula Valley sky.

Heather O. shared this photo of the Santa fire, which she says she took shortly after it erupted.
Heather O. shared this photo of the Santa fire, which she says she took shortly after it erupted.

A brush fire sparked by a vehicle breakdown Wednesday afternoon in the hills just west of Temecula scorched roughly 14 acres before crews were able fully contain it.

The non-injury blaze was reported around 3:20 p.m. near the intersection of Rancho California and Via Santa Rosa roads, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

No homes were threatened in the sparsely populated area, which is slightly more than one mile from Interstate 15.

Fourteen engine crews, a water tender crew and five inmate hand crews -- numbering around 125 fire personnel -- battled the flames for three hours before gaining the upper hand, a fire department spokeswoman said.

Two air tankers and a water-dropping helicopter supported the effort.

Authorities initially reported the fire had swelled to 30 acres, but that estimate turned out to be double its actual size, which rugged terrain made difficult to determine until the smoke finally cleared.

"Due to more accurate mapping, the fire has been downgraded to 14 acres," Melody Hendrickson of Cal Fire reported.

An unexplained vehicle failure along the shoulder of Rancho California apparently ignited the fire, according to the fire department.

Sheriff's deputies closed general access to the location to accommodate fire crews and escorted residents to their homes.


– City News Service contributed to this report.


temec_laurie June 05, 2014 at 12:47 AM
Thanks to Cal Fire and Temec Sheriffs for great work!

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