UPDATED: Fire Breaks Out in Murrieta's Warm Springs Preserve

The fire at Warm Springs Preserve was reported just before 5 p.m.

Updated at 12:35 a.m:

Embers glowed in the night as crews worked to gain containment of a fire that spread quickly Sunday afternoon in Murrieta.

A command center was set up near the end of Hunter Road, past where a police roadblock was in place.

One RV and one shed were confirmed lost in the fire, according to Murrieta fire Chief Matt Shobert, but no primary residences.

No mandatory evacuations were in place, the chief said, and an evaucation center at Vista Murrieta High School had been shut down after no evacuees showed up.

About 35 homes were without power near Via La Colina, according to Southern Calfornia Edison. The outage was reported just after 5:30 p.m. and was expected to be restored by 3 a.m., according to SCE's website. It was unclear if the power outage was related to the fire, but the neighorhood is located near the fire lines.

The cause of the blaze was still under investigation, the chief said.

Crews were expected to remain on scene overnight knocking down hot spots and expanding the containment lines.

Winds had died down, which was working in firefighters' favor, Shobert said.

The fire was estimated at 150 acres; an official update on containment and acreage was not due until the morning, the chief said.

Schools in the Murrieta Valley Unified School District were expected to be open Monday.

"If anything changes we will send a phone call notifying parents," said Karen Parris, district spokesperson.

—Updated by Maggie Avants

Updated at 9:36 p.m.:

The fire in Murrieta was 40 percent contained Sunday night, with no word on when full containment was expected.

Murrieta firefighters were assisted in their efforts by Cal Fire, Riverside County sheriff's deputies and volunteers from sheriff's and MPD, according to MFD Chief Matt Shobert.

Updated at 8:30 p.m.:

At least 150 acres were burned Sunday in a rural area of Murrieta bordered by Whitewood, Los Alamos, Hunter and Murrieta Hot Springs roads.

Some 150 firefghters were at the scene, battling a blaze that began in the Warm Springs Preserve area and threatened between 100 and 200 homes.

The area affected by the fire was bordered by Whitewood Road to the west and Los Alamos to the north, Patch learned.

There was no containment or control information available Sunday evening. 

"This fire moved so fast they did not have time to knock on doors," Murrieta fire Chief Matt Shobert told Patch.


Updated at 8:08 p.m.:

From Patch reader Terri Kean Whitaker:

"This Fire is running from Temprano Park (Whitewood near my house) up the creek beside Murrieta Hot Springs Mobile Park heading towards Hogsback to Los Alamos Rd!

Bad Bad area to have a fire. Los Alamos is closed to Briggs Road and evacuations are in progress! Air support has stopped as darkness set in so ground crews, trucks are on site. Our home is safe! But pray for the folks in these areas!"


Updated at 8:04 p.m.:

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District has opened Vista Murrieta High School to families whose homes were evacuated by the Warm Springs fire.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and firefighters!" reads a MVUSD Facebook post.


Updated at 6:43 p.m.

There were three air tankers dropping retardant on the fire and a helicopter was pulling water to drop on the blaze.

Jonathan Power said his mother, who lives off Blackthorne Drive, was asked to leave her home.

The fire on the north was in the area of Los Alamos Road and on the east, Hunter Road, to the north of Winchester Road.


Updated at 6:34 p.m.:

Winchester Road on its southeast side has been closed until further notice.

Updated at 6:05 p.m.

The fire is centered mainly on Los Alamos and Hunter roads, northeast of Temecula. If it were to jump Winchester Road, Murrieta fire says, it would move toward the French Valley Airport.

Acreage burned was not immediately available.

Updated at 5:55 p.m.:

Smoke can be seen from northern Temecula and police are shutting down Los Alamos Road.


A fire broke out at Warm Springs Preserve in Murrieta Sunday, spreading quickly and threatening a number of homes in the area.

The fire was reported just before 5 p.m.

According to scanner chatter, some streets were shut off and people were trying to get out of the area of the preserve.

Keep checking with Patch for updates.

Joe F September 24, 2012 at 06:49 AM
While contracting with Cal Fire makes sense for MANY cities, it doesn't work for all municipalities. Murrieta has a very high standard for medical responses within the city and this can only be maintained by keeping fire services "in-house." Keeping your public safety tax dollars within the city allows the city to decide how they are spent. This is why Murrieta has some of the best equipment around - premium fire engines, paramedics staffed on all engines during all shifts, "auto-pulse" CPR devices that assist firefighters in cardiac and respiratory arrest situations, and even oxygen masks for your pets that they rescue from your burning homes. The city of Murrieta has also been working closely with the county in an effort to break way from their manditory use of AMR under Riverside County's contract. Bringing ambulance services "in-house" along with fire and paramedic services would drop response times to the city's 5-minute standard, instead of the county's 10-minute standard. Certain areas of the city are serviced by Cal Fire under a mutual aid agreement due to the proximity of Cal Fire's stations (Bear Creek, and areas on the northeast end of the city near the French Valley Airport), and in return, Murrieta serves some of Cal Fire's area that they are closer to (Margarita road, etc). Many cities have had great success contracting with such a wonderful department like Cal Fire, but it's just not right for Murrieta.
flashrox September 24, 2012 at 06:56 AM
omg josh, look at a map half the city would have to burn to get to you. go to sleep you will be fine
Josh September 24, 2012 at 06:58 AM
Lol ok thx
Joe F September 24, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Well put, Mr. Hawk. I think informed citizens make the best decisions. I do find it interesting that you believe Murrieta's decision to keep Police services in-house benefits residents, but that their in-house fire services do not. As you're WELL aware, actual fires make up less than 10% of the department's responses. The remaining +90% are medical related, and the city's 5 minute response guideline is not seen in many cities outside of the LA basin where fire stations saturate the community like mailboxes. I'm presuming from your name and desire to inform Murrieta residents of Cal Fire's capabilities that you're RRU's top-in-command, and I agree with many of the points you make. It would CERTAINLY be beneficial to Cal Fire to remove the hole that exists between the Elsinore and Temecula Battalions known as Murrieta, but with the lack of wildfire activity that this city sees, it just doesn't seem practical to exchange our superior medical servies for Cal Fire's superior fire suppression services. However, I do agree that more mutual aid training and coordination needs to take place between RVC/RRU and MUR. Set protocol for who takes command on the types of incidents we saw today could prevent those first precious confusing minutes in the future.
Sierra Mist September 24, 2012 at 07:00 AM
It almost burned several houses near the preserve it was very wild and fierce and extremely fast and big.Looking out at the preserve now it looks very calm out there. They are still working here .Thanks to the brave firefighters who saved not only houses but our lives and our animal lives.They are incredible and thanks for all the support and prayers of the community, I'm sure that helped also.
Casey B. September 24, 2012 at 07:24 AM
Is the fire related to the power outage that my area has been experiencing over the last 5 or 6 hours? My area being the opposite side of the Hogback with the water tank.
Joe F September 24, 2012 at 07:30 AM
Highly likely. I saw power lines down in the Los Alamos Hills area on the backside of hogbacks as a result of this fire.
cem September 24, 2012 at 07:44 AM
UPDATE 9:15pm MURRIETA - According to Murrieta Fire Department Chief Matt Shobert, the "Temprano Fire", as it is now being called, is 40% contained. The fire is being called the Temprano Wildfire because it was first reported at about 3 pm on Via Temprano Road. There are just a few patches that are burning currently, and the total acreage burnt is still 130 to 160 acres. Currently there are about 130 firefighters still working the fire. Homes in danger totaled about 200, according to Chief Matt Shobert. There are still no mandatory evacuations, but there has been some structure loss with no details available as of 9:15pm. http://www.thevillagenews.com/story/66594/ or http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/murrieta/murrieta-headlines-index/20120923-murrieta-brushfire-burns-150-acres.ece?ssimg=724644 or Temprano Fire update - YouTube Murrieta Fire Chief Matt Shobert gives an update on a wildfire Sunday night. www.youtube.com/watch?v=raaxjp4MnHg
Kccooper September 24, 2012 at 11:39 AM
I am from a small town in Ohio and dispatch police and fire. My son lives in Murrieta. Be thankful for your fire department! Every second saved can be a life. It may seem like a long time, but a contracted department would be a little longer. Gog bless all the fire and rescue and all the police for helping keep my son and grandson safe and for all involved being safe!!!
Kccooper September 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM
God bless!!!!!!!!
Tiff September 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Judy I am on wrangler as well. We had a group of men helping us protect our home if that was your husband we are so grateful for all the men that were helping us! I felt blessed to see them back there helping us dig trenches and protect our homes!
rae September 24, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Does anyone know if Winchester Rd is still closed off?
Laura September 24, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I was impressed with fire Dept handling of this, but unimpressed with emergency notification info from city or lack thereof..my kids were in awe watching the great everyday heros fill up their tankers and helicopters in the pond park lake around 6 last night. What a great job firefighters have everyday, being everyday hero's. You should all be proud. Thank you from our family and neighbors near via temprano. It got awfully close...!
Christine September 24, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Anyone know if the fire is out yet?
Sam Bradstreet September 24, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Laura, you are so right. This is EXACTLY why our firefighters, policemen and other public servants deserve our praise and the salary and benefits they get. They woke up Sunday morning and had no idea they would put their lives at risk for our safety. Very few people want as dangerous a job as they have. I have watched them sit on my fence and stop a fire burning within 25 yards of my yard. These are our hero's.
Evelyn S. September 24, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Schools are open but I know the fire was close to Monte Vista Elementary. Are any parents sending their kids to school today?
rae September 24, 2012 at 03:22 PM
The fire has been contained..Rail Ranch Elementary has no power
Josh September 24, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Wait is the fire still going?
Shay September 24, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Anytime there is a fire close by, I go listen on radioreference.com (Live Audio) to the Cal Fire and Riverside County channel, (just launch the web player). It's free and you get immediate info by listening to the chatter. Right now it is pretty silent, so it must be close to contained if not contained.
Sandra Lucas September 24, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Great job to all the fire fighters—on the ground and in the air! Sandra
Robert Hawk September 25, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Why did the city terminate its agreement with CAL FIRE/ RCoFD for wildland fire protection this fiscal year??? Ask our city council??? Who is going to pay for this??? Why didn't we contract our fire services like Temecula, they have four people per engine co. & Truck co. have four people as per NFPA 1710, they also have paramedics, seems like this city needs a change like Norco and San Miguel in San Diego.
Robert Hawk September 25, 2012 at 12:13 AM
How do you know it won't work here Jeff, have you tried?? Is it pride or tradition?? I am just thankful we got the assistance when we asked....... Good job firefighters
Kim Olson September 25, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Robert, I would suggest the answers to your questions can be found by reviewing the city's annual budget for the past two years and doing a thoughtful comparison. Tax digests nationwide continue to fall. As the digest falls, so does revenue. As revenues fall, cutbacks begin. City and county managers, councils and commissions across the country are forced to make hard decisions every year at budget time regarding how they will continue to finance their local police, fire, public works and other departments necessary to keep their cities and counties running smoothly. I cover county government where I live and have seen major cutbacks to the budget which relates to a reduction in services. They are suffering just as much as the average citizen through this economic crisis and do what they have to do in the best interest of their citizens. If you have complaints. comments or questions, take them to the next city council meeting and address them to the people who make those decisions. They are usually more than happy to explain why they make the decisions they make. As far as terminating agreements, there are still mutual aide agreements in place across the cities, counties and states. As response to this fire has proved, our overworked and underpaid firefighters nationwide do what they have to do to ensure no lives are lost and as much property as can be saved, is saved. These guys work long and hard to do their jobs. Bravo Zulu to them and everyone involved.
kevin September 25, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Mr. Hawk, you act as Cal Fire always provides mutual aid to Murrieta and get's nothing in return. Just last week (or the week before lat) Murrieta sent an engine to Sun City to help with a apartment fire there. Also almost everyday Murrieta's Engine 3 assist's Cal Fire's Engine 73 on the Southbound 15. What is your big motivation for pushing Cal Fire? I'm assuming you work for them since you haven't answered where you work as a firefighter. Am I wrong?
Robert Hawk September 25, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Kevin you are wrong, not a CAL FIRE employee, just a retired fireman who worked in Los Angeles. I am just informing my fellow residents of options....... Clearly the MFD is opposed to any options to better protect its residents by just the question of contracting with CAL FIRE. I like options, my neighbors like options and informing residents of options of the simple pros & cons. Murrieta is community of working professionals that want information which clearly the MFD lacked during this small crisis and CAL FIRE had the information who have large & small incidents everyday, not one every year which creates the question what does the city benefit with not contracting or what would the city gain by contracting. City council meetings are excellent public forums for discussion. However unless studies are done and the information is put forth than we as residents will never know any different. Good talk!
Robert Hawk September 25, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Kim as I stated to Kevin city council meetings are great for public forums of discussion, however if not all the options are put forth than the forum is mute. I am a retired fireman that worked all over Los Angeles and have lived in this valley for years, this isn't the first crisis nor the last as far as fires are concerned. But if residents are not informed of options than what is the point of government....... now I don't want to get off track, but I am sure you can sympathize with the idea of options in this economic climate making that dollar stretch as far as possible. Now I know I have sparked the debate of agreements, mutual aid and response times, the real debate is our city doing all it can do or can the infrastructure of the fire department be better suited with contracting? That is all my point is period.
Murrieta Mom September 25, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Mr Hawk - You offer too much information not to be associated with Cal Fire in some way. "Why did the city terminate its agreement with CAL FIRE/ RCoFD for wildland fire protection this fiscal year???" is a perfect example of information that is not general knowledge. Also, I think it's pathetic to try and sell Cal Fire during a time of crisis. Be thankful that all agencies worked together and provided safety for the residents. It appears that what ever system is in place works! No lives were lost! I question whether contracting with a Sacramento governed agency is in the best interest of local taxpayers, but I'm sure Sacramento would love our money.
Kim Olson September 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Robert, thanks for your input. My way of thinking is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I have seen it happen many times over in my years as a journalist. I would suggest you push for those options. Come up with a cost effective viable plan that is better than what is currently in place, get citizens onboard, present that option to the council along with a signed position showing the support of the citizens and force council into action. These people were elected to represent the people and by making those representatives aware of the desires and needs of those they represent you can make them more effective leaders and help your city and its residents at the same time. Throwing options and questions out there to make people think are a great way to start the discussion, but we have to be willing to take the ball and run with it to make any real change. I'd love to see the citizens of this city stand up for themselves and ensure they get what they deserve, cost effective firefighting sytems that work for everyone involved.
Kim Olson September 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Just wanted to let you know that the information offered up by Robert Hawk is actually easily accessible. I live on the east coast, my fiance just closed on a house in Murrieta (I'm headed out that way after we get married in a few months) and I was able to access the same information. Decisions regarding budget issues, ie., the termination of an agreement with CAL FIRE/RCoFD is something that was decided on in a city council meeting. Start attending the meetings and or read their meeting minutes and you can be informed of all decisions made by city council. Termination of agreements between entities happens all the time. I'm not lambasting you here, just wanted to let you know that everyone has access to this and any actions taken by city council under tthe freedom of information act.
Robert Hawk September 27, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Kim absolutely we will as residents develop a committee or even an ADhoc committee like other cities have. Often these oversight groups are successful in recommendations made to a city. It's all about whats good for the city and if it can be done the same, better or cheaper than why wouldn't we as responsible tax payers do it? Murrieta mom the information that I have gathered along with other residents is all public information that does not require any fire department affiliation, just some intelligent reserach. The accusation or inference that I work or have worked for CAL FIRE is in correct, I am retired from the LAFD with over 35 years of expereince. Have a good evening.


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