1,500-Acre Brush Fire In Cleveland National Forest Prompts Evacuations, Highway Closure

LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA.com) — A 1,500-acre brush fire in the Cleveland National Forest near Lake Elsinore prompted evacuations and a freeway closure on Monday.

The Falls Fire was reported at 10:06 a.m. in the Decker Canyon area and south of the Ortega (74) Highway, officials said. No containment had been reached as of 11:30 p.m.

Mandatory evacuations were in effect for Decker Canyon. Earlier evacuations for Rancho Capistrano and Lakeland Village were lifted late Monday night.

Ortega Highway at Grand Avenue in Lake Elsinore and Antonio Parkway near San Juan Capistrano was closed to non-residents. The freeway could be closed for days or even weeks due to the fire damage.

In addition, officials closed access to the El Cariso Campground off El Cariso and Main Divide roads, the Wildomar Off-Highway Vehicle Area and the California Wildland Firefighter Memorial.

A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at Lakeside High School, 32593 Riverside Drive.

Fifty-five engines, 16 handcrews, five fixed-wing aircraft, five helicopters and two dozers were fighting the fire. A DC-10 was also ordered.

About 265 personnel from a number of agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire Riverside, the Orange County Fire Authority, and the Corona Fire Department, were involved in the effort.

Three people were injured, including two firefighters and one civilian with a medical disorder.

One structure burned.

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

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