Falls Fire near Lake Elsinore now 78 percent contained


The fire had burned 1,416 acres in the Cleveland National Forest, about five miles west of Lake Elsinore. Containment was expected by Friday.

While heavy smoke was seen, there were no visible flames Tuesday. This was a very different scene from the previous night, when flames were shooting up from hot spots.

A mandatory evacuation order for homes in the Decker Canyon area was lifted Tuesday night. Evacuation orders were lifted earlier for Rancho Capistrano and Lakeland Village.

The fire erupted around 10 a.m. Monday at an outbuilding in Morell Canyon. In addition to that out building, fire officials say a ranch at the bottom of a hill off Grand Avenue across form Lakeland Village also suffered damage.

Ortega (74) Highway remains closed to non-residents of the area. California Highway Patrol officers began escorting residents of the area along the roadway. Five cars at a time were being escorted with required proof of residency.

Until the 74 is fully open and repaired, the CHP escorts were scheduled daily for 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.; 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m; and 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Other closures include Grand Avenue in Lake Elsinore and Antonio Parkway in Orange County.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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