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By Maggie Avants
Aggressive firefighting kept a vegetation blaze that broke out Sunday afternoon in Murrieta to 7 acres, a fire official said. Flames were reported at 1:22 p.m. on Los Alamos Road, east of Interstate 215, according to Murrieta fire Chief Matt Shobert.
“The first 911 call came in at 1:22 p.m.,” Shobert said. “There were several callers…it was visible from all over that side of town.”
The fire along the north side of Los Alamos Road—between Courtney Brooke Lane and Menifee Road—had the potential to threaten at least 30 homes, Shobert said, had it not been for immediate action taken by crews.
Fifty fire personnel were dispatched to the fire, from both the Murrieta Fire Department and Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department, he said. Fifteen fire engines, two helicopters, two aircraft and a bulldozer were put to use.
“We were just getting ready to pull the trigger (on evacuations) but we stopped it at Clinton Keith Road,” Shobert said. “If it would have got across that it would have triggered substantial evacuations.”
There were no reports of injuries.
Firefighters were expected to remain on scene throughout the evening.
As of publication time, Shobert said Los Alamos Road between Whitewood and Menifee roads remained closed except to residents.
The cause of the fire was still being investigated.
“We had one of the warmest and one of the driest winters on record,” Shobert said. People need to heed that message and take precaution.”
This means ensuring there is 100 feet of defensible space around homes and exercising caution with smoking materials, hand tools and anything else that can give off a spark, such as golf clubs, the chief said.
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