Many Allowed to Return Home as Liberty Fire Burning Near Murrieta Reaches 60% Containment

Some evacuation orders were lifted on Friday for Murrieta residents displaced by the Liberty Fire, which has burned 300 acres in Riverside County.

A photo taken above Temecula shows the Liberty Fire in the Murrieta area on Dec. 7, 2017. (Credit: Matthew King)

A photo taken above Temecula shows the Liberty Fire in the Murrieta area on Dec. 7, 2017. (Credit: Matthew King)

The fire did not grow overnight and was 60 percent contained after breaking out the previous afternoon in an unincorporated area near Los Alamos and Liberty roads, according to the Murrieta Fire Department.

One structure and six outbuildings destroyed had been destroyed by Friday morning, though no injuries were reported, officials said.

Evacuations were lifted for all residents except those in the area of Los Alamos Road between Ruth Ellen Way and Briggs Road, and MacLean and Golden Eagle avenues. A repopulation plan was being developed, city fire officials said.

The shelter at Great Oak High School was closed but Murrieta Mesa High School, located at 24801 Monroe Ave., remained open as an evacuee reception facility.

Some animal shelters had also closed, but Animal Friends of the Valley Shelter at 33751 Mission Trail in Wildomar was open and the Murrieta Equestrian Center at 42670 Juniper St. in Murrieta was accepting large animals.

Classes were canceled on Friday at all schools in the Temecula Valley Unified School District due to continuing complications and poor air quality from both the Liberty and Lilac fires, officials said.

Friday marks the fifth day since wildfires began ravaging Southern California, and President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency surrounding the numerous incidents spanning hundreds of square miles. A statewide emergency declaration had previously been issued by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Fire danger would remain high through Sunday due to intense Santa Ana winds that would continue to cut through Ventura and Los Angeles counties, the National Weather Service said.