Massive Brush Fire Near Sage Continues to Rage

The blaze grew for hours Tuesday, consuming about 3,000 acres

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two firefighters and a civilian were injured during a brush fire that continued to rage Tuesday night. The blaze broke out at about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday and quickly grew to consume thousands of acres, prompting mandatory evacuations in the rural area. NBC4's John Cadiz Klemack reports from the fire command post. (Published Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012)

    A brush fire near Sage continued to rage Tuesday night, consuming thousands of acres and injuring two firefighters and one civilian, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

    As of 10:30 p.m., the blaze had grown to engulf 3,000 acres and 32 homes were evacuated, according to the Riverside County Fire Department's online incident report. It was 5 percent contained, a figure that held steady for hours.

    Massive IE Brush Fire Triggers Mandatory Evacuations

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    The fire in Aguanga, an unincorporated area of Riverside County, began at about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday and quickly grew to consume thousands of acres, forcing fire officials to order residents out of the rural area. Craig Fiegener reports from Aguanga for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on August 14, 2012. (Published Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012)

    The fire started at about 1:40 p.m. and prompted mandatory evacuations for residents north of Sage Road, south of Stanley Road, east of Benton Road and west of Reed Valley Road, according to fire officials.

    Those orders were still in effect Tuesday night, according to San Bernardino Sheriff's officials.

    The topography of the burn zone made it difficult for firefighters to quash the blaze, officials said, adding that dry brush in excess of 15 feet in some areas was fueling the fire.

    About 210 firefighters responded to the blaze that ripped through the rural area, according to the Riverside County Fire Department's online incident report.

    Two firefighters were transported to the hospital with minor injuries, officials said. The injured civilian was air lifted to the hospital with serious burns.

    It was about 5 percent contained shortly as of 8:30 p.m., a containment figure that held steady for hours. DC10 aircraft dropped several rounds of Phos-Chek, a bright orange fire retardant, around the permimeter of the fire in an attempt to further contain the blaze.

    At least nine homes were evacuated in the Aguanga area, three structures were damaged and an evacuation center was set up at 30875 Rancho Vista Road in Temecula, according to fire officials.

    Animals -- small and large -- were evacuated from the 500 block of South Grand Avenue Tuesday night, according to the incident report.

    Sage is an unincorporated community about 20 miles east of Temecula and about 15 miles south of Hemet.

    The blaze -- dubbed the "Buck Fire" -- grew from 25 acres at 1:40 p.m., to 50 acres by 2:30 p.m., to 125 acres by 3:30 p.m., to 600 acres by 5:45 p.m., to 1,800 acres by 6:05 p.m., to 3,000 acres by 10:30 p.m.

    More than 41 fire engines, six helicopters, six air tankers and four bulldozers were assisting in the fight.

    Correction: An earlier version of this article cited Riverside County officials as calling off the mandatory evacuation orders. San Bernardino Sheriff's officials later said those orders were still in effect Tuesday night. The article has been edited to reflect that information.

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