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Lower temps, calmer winds aid Buck fire fight in Riverside County

August 15, 2012 | 12:47 pm

The battle to control a fire that has burned more than 3,000 acres in Riverside County was “looking good” Wednesday as firefighters worked to keep the blaze from spreading east into the Cahuilla Mountains, officials said.

Lower temperatures and calm winds were helping crews to stop the spread of the Buck fire, which began just before 1 p.m. Tuesday south of Hemet and east of Temecula.

“Right now, we pretty much have the spread stopped,” said Cal Fire Capt. Mark Barr, adding: “It’s looking good and we’re going to keep it that way.”

Carr spoke as a smoky haze enveloped the rocky foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains. Desert brush was charred around a scattering of mobile homes. The blaze damaged four structures, including one house, but crews managed to save homes on the northern edge of the fire.

Hand crews spent the night and morning dousing hot spots. More than 400 firefighters are fighting the blaze.

The fire has ripped through dry brush and grasslands, prompting the evacuation of more than 30 homes and injuring two firefighters, as well as one civilian, who sustained third-degree burns.

Barr could not say whether the man lived in the area but said he did not come from any of the homes or trailers nearby.

“He just came from out there,” Barr said, pointing to the desolate, empty foothills. “He was walking and talking, but his burns were pretty severe.”


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-- Phil Willon in Riverside