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Buck fire sparked by lightning, investigators say

August 15, 2012 |  1:34 pm

Lightning caused the 3,000-acre Buck fire in Riverside County not far from Hemet, Cal Fire investigators said Wednesday.

The determination came less than an hour after a fire official reported lower temperatures and calm winds were helping crews get a handle on the fire, which began just before 1 p.m. Tuesday south of Hemet and east of Temecula.

Five brushfires in northeast San Diego County that had burned more than 9,000 acres Wednesday also were caused by lightning strikes, officials said. Those fires began near Julian and forced the evacuation of the rural communities of Ranchita and the San Felipe area off Highway 78.

In Riverside County, roughly 400 firefighters have responded to the Buck fire, which damaged four structures, including one house. Crews managed to save homes on the northern edge of the fire.


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-- David Zahniser in Los Angeles and Phil Willon in Riverside County