Pala fire 60 percent contained; evacuation orders lifted

PALA (CNS) – A 300-acre wildfire in the Pala area was 60 percent contained Tuesday and evacuation orders affecting the residents of nearly 40 homes were lifted, authorities said.

The Pala Fire broke out about 10:35 a.m. Monday near the intersection of Pala Temecula and Moro roads, according to Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler.

There were no immediate reports of injury or lost structures but about three dozen homes in the vicinity of Rancho Heights and Magee roads were threatened, and their occupants were told to evacuate Monday. Red Cross officials then set up an evacuation center at the Jim Banks Sports Complex at 12194 Pala Mission Road.

The evacuation orders were lifted this morning, though residents were still advised to stay clear of the area, according to Cal Fire's website.

The blaze was moving today in a northeasterly direction but not posing any immediate threat to structures, Cal Fire reported.

Roughly 600 firefighters were being deployed to battle the Pala Fire, along with three helicopters, two bulldozers and five water tenders, according to Cal Fire. As of this morning, about $405,000 has been spent battling the blaze, the agency reported.

Authorities said the fire, which remains under investigation, may have been sparked by a vehicle crash. According to the California Highway Patrol, a Toyota Camry hit a pole and caught fire about 10:30 a.m. Monday near the intersection of Pala Temecula and Moro roads.

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