This article was last updated at 7:25 a.m., Friday, Dec. 8, 2017.
A wildfire that broke out Thursday just northeast of Murrieta has been 60 percent contained after it scorched 300 acres amid strong Santa Ana winds, destroyed two structures and prompted a mandatory evacuation order.
Dubbed the Liberty Fire, the blaze was reported at 1:15 p.m. in the area of Liberty and Los Alamos roads, in an unincorporated community bordering French Valley, Murrieta and Winchester, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
More than 300 firefighters were working to encircle the wind-whipped wildfire, which by 7 a.m. Friday, was 60 percent contained. The blaze burned down a house and an outbuilding and threatened numerous properties on Ernest Way, Liberty, Los Alamos, Madelda Lane, Mary Place, Mesa Avenue, Skipper Road and Via Mira Mosa -- all of which were under an evacuation order.
By 8 p.m., evacuation orders were lifted for all residents with the exception of residents bordering Los Alamos Road between Ruth Ellen Way and Briggs Road, Maclean and Golden Eagle avenues. Southern California Edison was working to restore power to approximately 50 customers, with an estimated restoration time of 6 a.m. Friday. Evacuation centers were open at Mesa High School, 24801 Monroe St.
The county Department of Animal Services was accepting evacuated pets at its San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, 581 S. Grand Ave. Winds were gusting over 30 mph in the area in the late afternoon. A Red Flag warning, for strong winds coupled with very low humidity levels, was posted for the region through Sunday night by the National Weather Service.
Along with county fire personnel, Cathedral City, Corona, Hemet Palm Springs, March Air Reserve Base, Murrieta, Pechanga and Riverside city and county crews were on the fire lines as part of a mutual aid agreement with Cal Fire. There was no word on how the fire started.