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Authorities Say San Pasqual-Area Wildfire Was ‘Not Intentionally Set’

UPDATE: 4:06 P.M., August 14, 2018

Sparks from a passing vehicle — not an arsonist, as previously believed — ignited a wildfire that spread over about 100 open acres this week near San Diego Zoo Safari Park, authorities reported Tuesday.

The fire — one of three to break out in the same general area in as many weeks — erupted off state Route 78 and Cloverdale Road in the San Pasqual Valley shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, prompting residential evacuations but causing no reported structural damage or injuries.

Investigators believed for a time that the blaze was an act of arson, but concluded following further witness interviews that it had been ignited by "the rim of a tire that was throwing sparks into the brush along the side of the road," said Monica Munoz, spokeswoman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

"Multiple fires along the San Pasqual Valley corridor, along with multiple points of origin, had the investigative team thinking (the fire was) intentional (Monday)," she said.

RELATED: Fire Near San Diego Zoo Safari Park Forces Evacuations

The blaze, dubbed the Cloverdale Fire, forced a closure of a stretch of SR-78, prompted the zoo park to close early for the day and left a firefighter with a minor injury.

As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, crews had the smoldering burn area about 65 percent contained, Munoz said.

In late July, a wildfire blackened an estimated 365 open acres east of the wild-animal theme park. Last week, another blaze scorched about 150 acres in the same general area.

San Diego County Emergency Map


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