Tenaja Fire: Mandatory evacuations lifted after blaze burns 2,000 acres near Murrieta, containment rises to 20 percent

LA CRESTA, Calif. -- All mandatory evacuations orders were downgraded to warnings Friday morning for a 2,000-acre wildfire burning just west of Murrieta that threatened hundreds of homes and prompted the closure of nearby schools.

The Tenaja Fire was 20 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. The blaze was reported shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Clinton Keith and Tenaja roads in the unincorporated area of La Cresta.

Fast-moving flames ultimately threatened 1,200 homes and damaged two.

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

Temperatures in the burn area on Friday are expected to reach 93 degrees with 15 mph winds and 41 percent humidity, according to the National Weather Service.

Some 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.

Campuses remain closed in the Murrieta Valley, Romoland, Lake Elsinore and Menifee Union school districts.

A Red Cross shelter was established at Murrieta Mesa High School, located at 24801 Monroe Avenue.
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