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.

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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