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Tenaja Fire: Riverside County wildfire forces evacuations in Murrieta area

Posted: 5:55 AM, Sep 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-06 07:15:33-04
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MURRIETA, Calif. (KGTV) - Evacuations remained in effect and schools were closed Thursday as firefighters battled a wildfire that has burned more than 2,000 acres in the Riverside County city of Murrieta.

The so-called Tenaja Fire, possibly sparked by an afternoon lightning storm, was reported just before 4:45 p.m. Wednesday near Tenaja Road and Clinton Keith Road in the La Cresta community, according to Cal Fire officials.

As of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Cal Fire officials said the fire has grown to about 2,000 acres burned and was 10 percent contained. Officials said the blaze could accelerate as winds pick up and shift.

No structures have been damaged, and no injuries were immediately reported.

Fire crews from several Southern California agencies, including San Diego, joined the firefighting effort and attacked the flames on the ground and in the air.

As flames burned brush and threatened homes, mandatory evacuations were ordered for the La Cresta community, just west of Interstate 15.

Cal Fire officials said mandatory evacuations were in place for all 14 homes along The Trails Circle in La Cresta. Thursday about 2:30 p.m., new evacuation orders were added for Montanya and Belcara Places, Lone Oak Way and Botanica Place in Murrieta.

Due to the firefighting effort, Clinton Keith Road was shut down between Grand Avenue and Avenida La Cresta. Via Volcano, Tenaja Road, and Avenida La Cresta South were also closed.

CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW LATEST EVACUATION MAP

Mandatory evacuation orders were also issued for residents in Copper Canyon south of Calle del Oso Oro, between Clinton Keith Road and Murrieta Creek at Calle del Oso Oro.

Roughly 570 homes were told to evacuate while at least 141 of those homes decided to stay, authorities said at a Thursday evening news conference.

Small animals are being accepted at the school’s care and reception center.

Larger animals can be taken to the San Jacinto Animal Shelter (581 S. Grand Ave.), while horse trailers can be taken to the Los Alamos Sports Park (3700 Ruth Ellen Way).

Cal Fire officials said all evacuation orders could be in place for possibly 48 hours.

RELATED: Social media shows dramatic moments of Tenaja Fire

Additionally, the Murrieta Valley Unified School District closed all of its schools Thursday. Romoland School District officials said schools would be closed Friday.

District officials advised the public that Murrieta Mesa High School (24801 Monroe Ave.) is a designated Red Cross evacuation center.