Tenaja Fire: Containment of 2,000-acre brush fire near Murrieta rises to 35 percent; mandatory evacuation orders lifted

LA CRESTA, Calif. (KABC) -- A brush fire possibly ignited by lightning near Murrieta burned 2,000 acres and was 35% contained Saturday morning as firefighters anticipated full containment by Tuesday.

The Tenaja Fire was reported at 3:55 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Clinton Keith and Tenaja roads in the unincorporated community of La Cresta, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

All mandatory evacuation orders and warnings were lifted Friday night after the fast-moving blaze threatened 1,200 homes - damaging two - and prompted the closure of nearby schools.

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The Riverside County Emergency Management Department announced the lifting of mandatory evacuation orders, noting that residents may continue to see smoke in the area.

Temperatures in the burn area on Saturday are expected to reach 94 degrees with light winds, according to the National Weather Service.

About 900 personnel have responded to the blaze, whose cause remains under investigation. Lightning strikes were observed in the area amid scorching temperatures and high humidity on the fire's first day.

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Firefighters continued to battle a fast-moving blaze Thursday in the La Cresta community near Murrieta where 1,974 acres were scorched and residential evacuations were ordered.

Campuses remain closed in the Murrieta Valley, Romoland, Lake Elsinore and Menifee Union school districts amid concerns of the poor air quality. Health experts are recommending residents avoid any kind of strenuous outdoor activity as long as the fire continues to smolder.

A Red Cross shelter was established at Murrieta Mesa High School, located at 24801 Monroe Avenue. A full containment is expected by Tuesday.
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