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Blaze Snarls Traffic Near Del Mar Track

September 07, 1986|From a Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — A spectacular seven-alarm brush fire threatened hilltop homes east of the Del Mar race track and brought traffic on Interstate 5 to a standstill at midday Saturday, but caused little damage.

The blaze was started by exhaust spewing from a 1950s-model truck that ignited weeds and brush for three-quarters of a mile along the northbound lanes of Interstate 5, a San Diego Fire Department spokeswoman said.

Brisk onshore winds pushed the fire into heavy brush and spread it swiftly up the bluffs toward nearby homes. No homes were damaged by the fire and no injuries were reported, the spokeswoman said.

The fire broke out shortly after noon on steep bluffs east of Interstate 5 north of Del Mar Heights Road. Northbound freeway traffic, normally busy as 25,000 or more racing fans head for the race track two miles away, came to a standstill and traffic was backed up for nearly four miles.

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