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Fast-moving brush fires force evacuations, threaten homes

August 14, 2012 |  6:42 pm

Fire
A wildfire at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains has grown to at least 1,800 acres and destroyed at least one home. 

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in the sparsely populated area, said Jody Hagemann of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Nine homes have been evacuated so far.

The fire, reported just before 1 p.m., has been spreading at moderate speed in the rocky hills and desert scrub near Buck and Lewis Valley roads. More than 210 firefighters were working to extinguish the blaze, and six water-carrying helicopters and six water-tender aircraft were actively assisting with the effort, CALFire officials said.

More resources were being summoned from elsewhere in the state, and fire officials were girding for an overnight battle.

The Inland Empire chapter of the American Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter in Temecula, at the community Recreation Center, 30875 Rancho Vista Road. 

There have been no reported injuries.

Other fast-moving brush fires have forced the evacuation of two rural communities in northeast San Diego County, Cal Fire announced Tuesday afternoon.

The communities of Ranchita (population 400) and the San Felipe area off Highway 78 were ordered evacuated. Warner Springs High School will serve as a center for those displaced.

Four lightning fires east of Julian are being fought by more than 500 firefighters, along with air tankers and water-dropping helicopters. No structures have yet been reported damaged, according to Cal Fire.

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-- Phil Willon in Riverside and Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: KTLA News

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