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Four injured in explosion of hot-air balloon in Southern California, fire officials say

A hot air balloon exploded just after landing Saturday morning in Southern California, injuring four people aboard, fire officials said.

The incident occurred east of the city of Temecula about 7:44 a.m., Riverside County Fire Department spokesman Mark Annas told NBC News. The balloon, carrying five people, had landed when there was an explosion, according to a department incident report.

One person was taken to a regional burn center, two others were taken to trauma centers and a fourth was taken to a hospital. A fifth person escaped injury, Annas said.

He said that it was unclear what caused the explosion but that the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate the incident.

Annas said the accident occurred in a wine-growing region popular for hot-air balloon trips because of its scenery. The Temecula Valley Wine Growers Association says on its website that it has 35 member wineries in an area of 35,000 acres of hills and vineyards. Temecula is about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles.