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Wildfire Causes Traffic Backup

July 02, 2006|From Times Staff and Wire Services

A wildfire burning for a second day near Temecula on Saturday caused a 7-mile backup for morning and early afternoon drivers on southbound Interstate 15.

Two lanes of the highway remained closed for about half a mile south of Interstate 215 until authorities opened a lane about noon. By then, the blaze had charred 150 acres and was 50% contained.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection engineer Jeff Windham said firefighters expected to snuff out the blaze by 7 a.m. today.

About 30 miles to the northeast, firefighters were working to control a 650-acre wildfire in Joshua Tree National Park. The fire, which was reported at 2:11 p.m., was burning in wilderness and was 50% contained late Saturday, National Park Service dispatcher Irene Haynes said.

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