The Liberty Fire began near Los Alamos Road and Liberty Road around 1:15 p.m. local time on December 7. According to fire officials, the blaze spread to over 300 acres but is 100 percent contained at this time.
A mandatory evacuation order was previously in place for Los Alamos Road, Liberty Road, Mary Place, Via Mira Mosa, Madelda Lane, Skipper Road, Ernest Way, and Mesa Avenue.
Residents who needed to evacuate were given an option to seek shelter at Great Oak High School located at 32555 Deer Hollow Way in Temecula, or at Mesa High School at 24801 Monroe Street, located in Murrieta.
Those who needed shelter for their animals were encouraged to go to San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus located at 581 S. Grand Avenue in San Jacinto. Both small and large animals were being accepted at this location.
More than 300 firefighters were dispatched to take on this blaze. Although it had been growing at a rapid speed, it was under control in a relatively short amount of time.
The following agencies have been assisting with the Liberty Fire, according to Riverside County Fire Department.
American Red Cross, CAL FIRE/Riverside, Cathedral City FD, City of Corona FD, City of Hemet FD, March ARB, Murrieta Fire Protection District, Palm Springs FD, Pechanga FD, Riverside City FD, Riverside County Fire Department, and Riverside County Fire Emergency Management Department.
Arid conditions, caused by a lack of rainfall in the southern part of the state, have increased the likelihood of wildfires in southern California.
“This year … no rain came in September, October and November in Southern California. So we have incredibly desiccated dry fuels,” said CAL Fire’s Tim Chavez.
Winds in the area, called the “Santa Ana wind event,” have only helped these fires spread more quickly. Many have become out of control, making it nearly impossible for firefighters to catch a break.
The National Weather Service has issued “red flag warnings” for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. These warnings are in effect through Saturday.
“The strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season will continue through at least Saturday. Damaging wind gusts of 45 to 65 mph will continue today across wind prone areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with slightly weaker winds tonight into Saturday. These Santa Ana winds combined with humidities in the teens and single digits, along with very dry fuels, will continue to bring an extended period of critical fire weather conditions to much of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. If fire ignitions occur, there is a high likelihood of very rapid fire spread, long range spotting, and extreme fire behavior. Other potential impacts today include downed trees and power lines, blowing dust and debris, as well as power outages,” read the warnings, in part.
Several other wildfires are burning in southern California. The largest of these fires is the Thomas Fire, which has engulfed 155,000 acres so far. The Creek Fire, located in Los Angeles County, has grown to15,000 acres, while the Rye Fire is consuming 6,000 acres. The Skirball Fire is approximately 475 acres, while the newly started Lilac Fire grew to over 4,000.
To date, hundreds of structures including residences have been destroyed and thousands of people and animals have been displaced.
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