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Moreno Valley wildfire fully controlled

August 8, 2011 |  8:45 am

Map shows location of where motorists were trapped on the 60 Freeway in Moreno Valley. Firefighters early Monday fully controlled a 945-acre wildfire near Moreno Valley that briefly trapped 50 motorists on the 60 Freeway near Gilman Springs Road a day earlier, authorities said.

Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Cheri Patterson said slightly cooler than normal weather helped about 175 firefighters gain the upper hand on the blaze, which burned along an area known as the San Timoteo Badlands between Moreno Valley and Beaumont. No structures were lost.

Another small blaze near Cabazon, which grew to 90 acres, also was contained by Sunday night.

"It’s been a mild fire season for us, with the weather and the lower humidity," Patterson said. "But we’re still right in the middle of fire season."

The fire forced the closure of the 60 Freeway for a short period and the California Highway Patrol had to escort 50 motorists, trapped when flames and smoke burned to the edge of the thoroughfare, to safety.  All lanes on the 60 Freeway are now open.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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-- Phil Willon

Image: A map shows the location where motorists were trapped on the 60 Freeway in Moreno Valley. Source: Google Maps

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