UPDATED: 'Buck' Fire East of Murrieta Consumes 3,000 Acres

Dubbed the “Buck Fire,” the blaze was reported to fire officials just before 1 p.m. and is burning near Sage Road, between Lewis Valley and Buck roads, about 25 miles east of Murrieta.

Last updated at 10:42 p.m. Aug. 14


Three people have suffered injuries—one seriously— in the "Buck" fire that broke out Tuesday 25 miles east of Murrieta in Aguanga, authorities said.

Two firefighters were transported to a hospital with minor injuries, and one civilian was transported by air ambulance for treatment of serious burns, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department confirmed.

The resident may have suffered the burns near the area of Checkmate Road, and two others may have also been injured, according to unconfirmed reports.

The "Buck" fire quickly spread to 1,800 acres within hours, and as of the latest update just after 10:30 p.m., the blaze was mapped at 3,000 acres and still only 5 percent contained.

Thirty-two of 47 nearby homes had been evacuated, according to Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department.

A Cal Fire spokesman said four structures were destroyed and more were threatened due to the fast-moving blaze.

Cal Fire spokesman Glenn Barley has confirmed earlier that the fire ate up 1,800 acres in less than six hours and more acreage would be lost—and possibly more homes.

"It's burned pretty aggressively throughout the day," he said of the blaze. "It's still burning heavy at the head of the fire. Others [homes] are threatened."

As night fell, Barley said crews would be working through the night and tomorrow.

The blaze was reported to Cal Fire/Riverside County fire officials just before 1 p.m. near Sage Road, between Lewis Valley and Buck roads.

Smoke from the fire was visible throughout the Temecula and Murrieta Valley.

Broadcast images clearly showed a house destroyed by the flames.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for residents north of Sage Road, south of Stanley Road, east of Benton Road and west of Reed Valley Road, according to Jody Hagemann, spokesperson for the Riverside County Fire Department.

Residents of homes on Stanley, Garrett, Checkmate, and Reed Valley roads were ordered to evacuate, Hagemann said.

An evacuation center was opened by the American Red Cross at Temecula's Community Recreation Center, 30875 Rancho Vista Road, Temecula.

Greg Good lost his trailer home in the blaze and appeared at the evacuation center tonight in tears. Lynda Shoemaker, a Red Cross volunteer who is managing the center tonight, said Good told her he was trying to douse flames when his dogs escaped. They are described as large brown Scottish Deerhounds. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

Good was the only evacuee at the center at press time.

The Ramona Animal Shelter at 690 Humane Way in San Jacinto was being used as an evacuation depot for dogs, cats and other small pets.

Riverside Emergency Animal Rescue System (R.E.A.R.S.), 581 South Grand Ave. in San Jacinto, was helping to evacuate animals—large and small.

Larger animals, including horses, were being accepted at Helton Hay and Feed at 26852 Bradley Road in Menifee. Owner Melanie Helton said she and her husband can take in horses and other livestock that may be displaced by the blaze. The couple own a 6-acre ranch near their feedstore and said they have room to house at-risk animals.

Additionally, Helton said the horse community has reached out to her and she now has a list of other property owners throughout Riverside County who can take animals that need temporary shelter due to the fire. She also has an extensive list of volunteers who can help with transport.

"It's great to see the community come together," she said.

Helton can be reached throughout the night at 951-775-2226.

Additionally, county animal services representatives are on scene in the Buck Fire area to assist with pet and livestock evacuations.

"We will have staff members there throughout the night and into the early morning hours," said Riverside County Animal Services spokesman John Welsh.

More than 200 firefighters were on scene; six helicopters and six air tankers were deployed.

Crews from the Los Angeles County and Orange County fire departments, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, were lending assistance.

It was not immediately clear what may have sparked the blaze, although fire officials are on high alert due to weather conditions that are calling for afternoon thunderstorms and lightning.

—City News Service contributed to this report

The Gorilla August 15, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I was up on top of a hill on Juniper Flats in Homeland at 1 pm and saw the beginning of the fire There was dry lightning that started the fire. Its mother natures way of burning the overgrowth. it is tough to fight fires when fire suppression causes too much fuel to exist. Maybe we need more controlled burns to create zones that will stop huge fires from happening.
colleen August 15, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Hey JUST FOR FUN! I don't HAVE TV OR INTERNET!! I sit on my bk porch watching and I guess like I told Brenda They're behind the cloud. I wasn't being negative,just concerned. Didn't know if maybe cuz of winds ect. Back off, Im just worried. Didn't mean to seem lame, I was really just asking if there was a problem..I know Our community is the shiznick...There AWESOME!
colleen August 15, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Right on Brenda, was it You that posted those shots from the parking lot?
Brenda August 15, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Hey no worries Colleen. I know its a pain to see something going on and but not know exactly where or how bad it is. ;) Its all good and I don't mind answering something if I do happen to have an answer which is not often, LOL.
Brenda August 15, 2012 at 07:47 PM
No, wasnt me Colleen, and as I said earlier on another post I wish I had thought of IT!!! And at one point I was up on the 4th floor and had a perfect view of it just behind the Glen Mountain I think they call it. Was still nice and blue clear skies all around the fire so would have been a perfect shot before it got invisible in all the smoke. :/


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