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I-5 Reopened Near Camp Pendleton After Brush, Truck Fire

It took firefighters nearly five hours Wednesday to put out a brush fire that erupted alongside Interstate 5 north of Las Pulgas Road in the Camp Pendleton area when a big rig filled with fuel caught fire, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The fire started about 10:05 a.m., creating huge plumes of black smoke, and eventually led the CHP to shut down all lanes of the freeway.

According to the Orange County Register, the southbound lanes of I-5 reopened an hour after the fire started but were closed when the fire restarted.

Three southbound lanes and two northbound lanes reopened by 1 p.m., and all lanes were open by 2:45 p.m.

In all, the fire scorched 30 acres, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.

The I-5 lane closures led to massive traffic jams in San Diego and Orange counties.

The Orange County Register quoted motorist Lilia Garcia, who was stopped in the northbound lanes near Las Pulgas Road. She said many drivers turned their cars off. Others used the shoulder to turn around and drive toward an exit, Garcia said.

Five Orange County Fire Authority brush engines and two helicopters assisted Camp Pendleton firefighters in extinguishing the fire, the Register said.