San Diego

Gopher Fire Off I-15 Now 95 Percent Contained at 35 Acres

The fire broke out Monday off Interstate 15, bringing rush hour traffic to a halt.

A wild brush fire off Interstate 15 which threatened three homes is now 95 percent contained at 35 acres, Cal Fire officials said. 

The fire, which broke out around 3 p.m. Monday off I-15 near the Gopher Canyon Road exit, is composed of two fires burning toward the west; combined, the fires are being called the Gopher Fire. The flames charred an area 13 miles north of Escondido. 

The small wildfire brought traffic in northern San Diego County to a hault. Shortly after the blaze broke out, officials closed down southbound I-15 so crews could battle the fire. All lanes have since reopened. 

Residents in three homes near the Lawrence Welk Resort in unincorporated San Marcos area were ordered to evacuate, but were later allowed to return home as crews got a handle on the fire. 

In this raw video, thick smoke fills the air above Gopher Canyon Road near Interstate 15.

Resident Sabrina Domingue saw the flames and immediately went to her kids.

"I look out our kitchen window and all I see is just a huge wall of flames," she said. 

Domingue said that from her point of view, it looked like their neighbor's home was on fire. She described the scene as "unreal," saying she's never seen anything like it so close to her home.

"We've always known that that could happen out here and you're prepared but when it really happens, you wonder, 'Am I really that prepared'," she said.

Domingue, whose husband Craig Domingue is also a firefighter, said she was proud of the crews who were battling the flames. Her husband was off-duty when the fire sparked.

"I've never been in a situation like this at my own home," he said, thanking the firefighters as well.

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