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S. California crews rush to fight Mexico fire

New Wildfire Spreads Rapidly In Riverside County
Firefighters battle a 6,400-acre fire near Calimesa, Calif., in Riverside County on Thursday. At one point it had threatened 100 homes.David Mcnew / Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

A day after Southern California crews made progress against two wildfires and helped Mexico battle a blaze, a new fire was burning in remote terrain a few miles north of the border and the forecast called for more hot, dry weather on Friday.

The National Weather Service forecast for Friday called for more temperatures in the 90s, with low humidity and light winds.

In San Diego County, a 4,000-acre fire burning in a rugged area along the U.S.-Mexican border was 30 percent contained Thursday night. Winds had died down and were forecast to be light on Friday.

Officials were aiming for full containment by Saturday evening after crews cut a 14-mile line by hand around the blaze, said Matt Streck, a spokesman for the state forestry department.

Firetrucks rush into Mexico
In what he called an unusual move, a dozen American fire engines raced across the border around 4 p.m. Thursday when winds shifted and a wall of flames bore down on the Mexican city of Tecate. Fire burned to a cinderblock wall at the edge of the city of 50,000, but firefighters kept flames from spreading to any structures, he said.

"I really feel like we got the opportunity to save some lives. It was a unique experience," Streck said.

There was no threat to structures on the U.S. side of the border and evacuation orders in the area were lifted Thursday night.

The blaze began in Mexico but the cause is unknown, he said.

As 1,200 firefighters were slowly gaining control of that blaze, a new wildfire broke out Thursday night about 9 miles to the north, Streck said. The fire, which had consumed about 10 to 15 acres of brush, was in a remote, inaccessible area and crews will have to hike in to fight it, he said.

Two fires in Riverside County
In Riverside County, firefighters had the Woodhouse Fire 70 percent contained Thursday night after it chewed through more than 6,400 acres in a rural area near Moreno Valley. Total containment was expected by Saturday night.

The fire, which broke out Wednesday, had initially threatened 100 homes and five commercial properties, but all were safe Thursday night.

A new wildfire broke out in Riverside County on Thursday afternoon and quickly spread across 50 acres of steep hillside brush in the Home Gardens area near Corona. Low winds helped firefighters, however, and full containment was expected overnight.

No homes were threatened and no one was evacuated.

"Firefighters were able to get a handle on this early on," said Capt. Jason Neuman of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.