Fire trucks on I-15
Fire trucks line Interstate 15 as crews battle the fire. Courtesy Cal Fire San Diego

A brush fire burned seven acres northwest of Escondido on Saturday, shutting down the southbound Interstate 15 for several hours.

The fire started around 11:30 a.m. near I-15 and Deer Springs Road, the California Highway Patrol reported.

There was an early report that the fire was holding at 25 acres from Southern California Air Operations, but Cal Fire San Diego spokesman Thomas Shoots said the correct acreage burned was seven acres, not 25.

Fire investigators found debris from a faulty catalytic converter, which is suspected to be the cause of the fire, Shoots said.

At least four North County firefighting agencies and one from Riverside County joined Cal Fire to fight the fire, including the Escondido, San Marcos and North County fire departments, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and Pechenga Fire Department from Riverside County.

So Cal Air Operations tweeted at 2:30 p.m. that air tankers and ground sources were released, transitioning to patrol status Saturday evening. One copter continued to assist ground crews with hot spots.

Cal Fire said crews were expecting to stay on the scene well into the evening.

Two  lanes of southbound I-15 south of Gopher Canyon Road were reopened said Caltrans San Diego.

There was no immediate threat to structures, according to the San Marcos Fire Department.

Winds in the area were gusting at around 15 mph, the National Weather Service said.

Updated at 8:45 p.m., Saturday, May 22, 2021

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