Tenaja Fire causes evacuations near Murrieta, California

By Thursday afternoon it had burned almost 2,000 acres

map Tenaja Fire
The red dots represent heat on the Tenaja Fire detected by a satellite at 2:30 p.m. PDT September 5, 2019 .

About 24 hours after it was reported at 4 p.m. PDT Wednesday the Tenaja Fire west of Murrieta in Southern California flared up again requiring additional evacuations and commitments of firefighting resources.

The blaze started near the intersection of Tenaja Road and Clinton Keith Road in the La Cresta community. (see map above) Spreading quickly in the high temperatures, thunderstorms played havoc, causing the wind direction to shift causing erratic fire behavior. Air tankers, helicopters, and firefighters on the ground kept it to about 1,400 acres Wednesday night as the rate of spread slowed.

Thursday morning there was still very little containment of the fire perimeter. It was fairly quiet until early afternoon when the activity picked up considerably. Rapid spread toward dense complexes of homes in the Murrieta and Wildomar communities triggered more evacuations and large orders for additional firefighting resources.

Tenaja Fire smoke
Smoke over the Tenaja Fire at 1:39 p.m. PDT September 5, 2019. HPWREN.

The fire came very close to a number of homes, some of which were painted red by fire retardant drops. Good work by firefighters on the ground and in the air prevented it from moving into residential areas.

Tenaja Fire homes
Tenaja Fire. Screenshot from ABC7 video.

At 5:30 p.m. the spread had been at least temporarily stopped, and in places where there was no fireline the vegetation was red from multiple air tanker drops. Fire officials estimated it had burned 1,974 acres. There were no reports of homes burning.

Tenaja Fire
Tenaja Fire. Screenshot from ABC7 video.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.