As of Sunday evening, the Chaparral fire was 13% contained, up from 10% Sunday morning, Cal Fire said. The blaze had burned 1,500 acres — up from 1,425 acres Sunday morning.
At least one firefighter had what was described as a minor injury. Fire officials have not said how it occurred. Firefighters were battling the flames from the ground and air, including the use of four air tankers. Fire crews from the U.S. Forest Service as well as the cities of Murrieta, Hemet and Corona were assisting 150 firefighters from Riverside and San Diego counties.
Officials with the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department said at least two structures were destroyed.
Another brush fire broke out in the Cajon Pass on Sunday afternoon, complicating the response for firefighters still minding the South and Roadside fires smoldering nearby.
The Railroad fire started burning along the 15 freeway near Cleghorn Road just before 1 p.m. That forced firefighting aircraft and crews on the ground — some who were still working to build up containment lines around the Roadside fire burning a few miles south — to stop what they were doing and speed off to the new fire.
Air tankers buzzed over the Railroad fire, dropping retardant to surrounded the blaze; and it was attacked by ground crews. The fire burned about 25 acres before firefighters stopped its progress. It was 30% contained by early evening.
The fire in La Cresta began on Saturday; information on the cause was not immediately known. The smoke could be seen across south Orange and Riverside counties, as well as parts of San Diego county.
The Murrieta area experienced a high of 93 degrees on Sunday and wind gusts reached as high as 25 mph, said Adam Roser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Caren Wyatt said she and her sister, Janette Thomas, saw billows towering over a ridge of hills between 5 and 10 miles away from their home near the end of Tenaja Road. Wyatt was reminded of the Tenaja fire, which forced her and hundreds of others to flee the La Cresta area in 2019.
The two were among five people who sought relief overnight Saturday at an emergency shelter run by the Red Cross in the auditorium of Murrieta Valley High School, volunteer and shelter supervisor Jose Regueiro said. The aid organization has enough supplies to accommodate at least 100 people if needed, he added, but many evacuees wound up staying with family or renting rooms at hotels.
Dafe Uvieghara was somewhat concerned about the safety of his home and belongings Sunday. But he said he was impressed with how quickly firefighters responded, and was hopeful they would be able to minimize any damage. He added that he was more worried about the increasing regularity of wildfires and other natural disasters.
“I know around here in Murrieta there’s more of a conservative lean, but this isn’t something to politicize,” Uvieghara said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. It’s the earth reacting to us and what we’re putting into the environment, and these things are happening more often.”
All evacuation orders for parts of unincorporated Murrieta closest to the fire remained in place Sunday. City News Service contributed to this report.
Source: SB Sun