Fire Burning Near Homes in La Cresta, Near Murrieta, Grows to Nearly 1,000 Acres

on Sep5
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A 994-acre fire dubbed the Tenaja Fire that was possibly started by a lightning strike was burning in La Cresta, just west of Murrieta, threatening homes and forcing evacuations, authorities said.

Evacuation orders were issued for all residences along The Trail Circle in La Cresta, along with the Santa Rosa Plateau Visitor Center located at 39400 Clinton Keith Road, CAL Fire Riverside said.

In addition, Clinton Keith Road was closed south of Avenida La Cresta.

The Riverside County Fire Department and CAL Fire were responding to the fire, with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department assisting with other local agencies, CAL Fire said.

All Murrieta Valley Unified School District schools will be closed Thursday, the district told parents Wednesday night, after consulting with fire officials and police.

There were 270 firefighters, three helicopters, 44 engine companies, six air tankers, four fire crews and two bulldozers responding to the fire, CAL Fire said at 5:15 p.m.

As of 7:45 p.m. the fire was approximately 250 acres in size and 5% contained. By 8:50 p.m., the fire was approaching 1,000 acres, with the Riverside County Fire Department saying the fire had grown to 994 acres. 

A care and reception facility has been established at Murrieta High School located at 24801 Monroe Ave, Murrieta. Small animals were being accepted at the care and reception center, located at Murrieta Mesa High School. Large Animals can be taken to the San Jacinto Animal Shelter 581 S. Grand Ave. San Jacinto, CA 92582.

Health officials warned residents about the dangers of smoke and ash from the fire, urging residents to limit outdoor activities because of smoke.

“Ash and smoke can be hard on anyone to breathe, but especially those with lung disease,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer, in a news release. “Everyone worries about the flames, but smoke can impact you even if you’re miles away from the fire.”

Below is a photo of the smoke from the fire as seen from NBCLA’s First Alert Radar Network Wednesday evening.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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