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Grass fire scorches 160 acres, forces evacuation of some homes

August 29, 2011 |  4:55 pm

A grass fire just north of Murrieta scorched 160 acres and forced the evacuation of 11 homes Monday afternoon, Riverside County fire officials said.

The fire was reported in Menifee about 1 p.m. and spread quickly in the 100-degree heat, damaging two outbuildings. The fire was 50% contained by midafternoon.

“They’re making really good progress on it," said Theresa Briscoe, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Meanwhile, a wildfire that burned 345 acres near the Los Angeles-San Bernardino county line was 85% contained Sunday evening, after 555 federal, state and local firefighters were call in to fight the blaze, according to information released by the forestry department.

The fire began near Highway 138, south of Pinion Hills, east of Palmdale and west of Victorville, on Saturday after a series of lightning strikes from violent thunderstorms hit the desert areas, although the official cause has not been determined.

A second wildfire at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains in the community of Mentone burned 67 acres and was expected to be completely contained by Monday night, fire officials said.

That fire broke out late Sunday morning near Greenspot Road. More than 300 firefighters battled the fire, which never threatened any structures.


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-- Phil Willon in Riverside