Two California fires contained after consuming dozens of homes, thousands of acres

Thursday, February 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

FALLBROOK, Calif. (AP) _ A fire that destroyed at least 36 homes and consumed 5,700 acres in the town known as the ``Avocado Capital of America'' has been fully contained.

Many of the firefighters were released from duty late Wednesday after the blaze was contained. More than 260 firefighters stayed to extinguish hot spots.

The cost of fighting the fire has reached $2.1 million, most of which will be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, officials said. The cause of the blaze had not been determined.

The fire did most of its damage in the first hours after it erupted Sunday, spreading through canyons about 40 miles north of San Diego.

Thirteen people, including two firefighters, were injured.

Authorities believe the blaze began at a persimmon and avocado grove where the manager and his son burned wood cuttings Friday. But Luis Rueda, 19, said the fire he set with his father ``was completely extinguished by 3 p.m.''