A flareup inside the fire burning south of Temecula for nearly 24 hours sent thick smoke and flames up Sunday, but firefighters who were making progress in their battle said the intense fire was well inside the blaze’s perimeter.
“You may see heavy black smoke coming from this fire right now,” the San Diego North County Fire District tweeted at midafternoon. “It is coming from a flare up well inside the burn. Fire crews are keeping a close eye on this and have units strategically placed to handle this.”
The blaze, dubbed the Rock Fire, has scorched close to 210 acres of vegetation, down from the previous estimate of 225 acres, according to Cal Fire San Diego.
The blaze was also 50 percent contained as of about 6 p.m., Cal Fire reported.
Authorities in Riverside County said they did not believe the fire had spread north into Riverside County, although smoke blanketed much of the Temecula Valley.
An estimated 150 firefighters were on scene, officials said.
Reports of the fire first came at 3:10 p.m. Saturday, according to the California Highway Patrol.
It’s located along Rock Mountain Drive near Sandia Creek Drive, just south of the Riverside County line.
The fire was estimated at 25-30 acres as of about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. It quickly spread to more than 200 acres before firefighters were able to stop its forward spread by about 7:15 p.m. Saturday.
About 100 homes remained under evacuation orders Sunday, Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez said.
Sheriff’s officials said residents were being told to evacuate to Fallbrook High School, 2400 S. Stage Coach Road.
All evacuation orders were lifted as of 6 p.m., according to authorities.
Sandia Creek Drive continued to be closed between De Luz Road and Riverside County. Rock Mountain Drive was also closed to non-residents at Sandia Creek Drive, Cal Fire reported.