Crews making some progress in battle against Tenaja Fire in Riverside County – 10News

Crews making some progress in battle against Tenaja Fire in Riverside County - 10News
Tenaja fire rages through southern California: “They dont know which way its going to go”
Hundreds of homes were threatened when heavy winds kicked up the blaze on Thursday afternoon. “All of a sudden, it just started taking off!” one witness said.  

Some 800 firefighters, facing 90 degree temperatures, attacked the fire with bulldozers on the ground and water-dropping helicopters from the air.

The blaze comes after a relatively quiet year for California wildfires, The Los Angeles Times pointed out. Fires burned more than 1.2 million acres in 2017 and 1.8 million acres in 2018, but only 51,079 acres as of Aug. 18 this year. Experts attribute the change to cooler temperatures, late spring rains and less extreme winds in 2019. In general, the rise in California wildfires has been attributed in part to the climate crisis.

Crews Work Overnight to Increase Containment of Tenaja Fire; Evacuation Orders Lifted

“We did have a full strike team of resources deployed,” said Fernando Herrera of the Riverside County Fire Department, who added that firefighters also went to homeowners backyards to help protect their homes.

The fire broke out in La Cresta, California in Riverside County and was named for a road near where it ignited. It has since spread to other cities including Murrieta, California, a town of 104,000 people 80 miles south of Los Angeles. Since Wednesday, around 415 homes and 1,200 people had been evacuated, Riverside County Fire Department spokesperson Jody Hagemann told TIME. Others are waiting for an evacuation order.

Some people also hosed down their own homes in an effort to keep them safe.  Crews tossed pillows and cushions into the pool in an attempt to clear out material that might quickly catch fire.

The Tenaja Fire jumped from 25 acres when it was first reported Wednesday afternoon to 994 acres just five hours later. As of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the blaze had spread to 1,974 acres and was 10 percent contained, The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) reported. The fire-fighting agency said the blaze was moving at a “dangerous rate of speed,” according to TIME.

Tenaja Fire: Mandatory evacuation orders lifted after blaze burns 2,000 acres near Murrieta, containment rises to 20 percent

Meanwhile, police officers and firefighters patrolled neighborhoods, warning families that it was time to go. 

In 2008, performance artist Pilvi Takala took her seat as a new employee at the company Deloitte, a global consulting firm, and began to stare into space. When asked by other employees what she was doing, she said, “brain work” or that she was working “on her thesis.” One day she rode the elevator up and down the entire workday. When asked where she was going, she said nowhere.

“They dont know which way its going to go,” one resident said. “So they just recommend that we get out of here as quick as possible.” 

Just after 8 a.m. Friday, mandatory evacuation orders were downgraded to evacuation warnings for Montanya Place, Bonita Place, Belcara Place and Lone Oak Way in the city of Murrieta. The same was the case for the Copper Canyon South community south of Calle del Oso Oro between Clinton Keith Road and Murrieta Creek Drive at Calle del Oso Oro.

“This is a rapidly evolving incident,” said Murrieta Police Chief Sean Hadden. “So we are asking people to stay out of the area.”

Nearly 900 firefighting personnel from multiple agencies were battling the fire around-the-clock with the help of an aerial attack involving 10 water-dropping helicopters and 11 air tankers. Full containment is not expected until at least Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Some hillsides in the region havent burned in more than 20 years, which is creating a significant amount of fuel. Officials arent saying when theyll let people return to their homes, and schools in the area will remain closed because of the poor air quality.

The Tenaja Fire broke out before 5 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Tenaja Road and Clinton Keith Road. Reports indicate a thunderstorm cell moved through the area just prior to the fire, but there was still no official word on a possible cause.

Tenaja isnt the only fire the state is facing: In northern California, the Red Bank fire exploded to 6,000 acres overnight.

Firefighters make slight progress on Tenaja Fire burning near Murrieta

LA CRESTA, Calif. – Firefighters worked overnight to increase containment on the Tenaja Fire and residents in the area were able to return to their homes, it was announced Friday morning. 

The fast-moving wildfire sparked Wednesday and quickly grew from 25 to 994 hours within hours. The fire is currently at 2,000 acres and is 25 percent contained, which marks a jump from Thursday night's reported 10 percent containment. 

With the progress made in the fire's containment, all mandatory evacuation orders were lifted by authorities and residents were allowed to return to their homes. Although, Clinton Keith Road remains closed, CHP is doing escorts in both directions as the situation allows.

All schools within the Murrieta Valley Unified School District were closed and were expected to reopen by Monday. 

LA CRESTA, Calif. – Firefighters worked overnight to increase containment on the Tenaja Fire and residents in the area were able to return to their homes, it was announced Friday morning. 

The Red Cross has also closed their shelter at Muerrieta Mesa High School. Anyone affected by the Tenaja Fire in need of Red Cross assistance can call the American Red Cross Disaster Dispatch at 855-243-3815.

Posted in Riverside