UPDATE: Oct. 27, 2:36 p.m.
The blaze that was reported about 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness area, south of the Ortega (74) Highway and Main Divide Road was 15 percent contained and burning in a northeasterly direction as of 1 p.m., according to the U.S. Forest Service.
No injuries have been reported.
About 200 homes have been evacuated, authorities said. A mandatory evacuation order was issued early today for a portion of the La Cresta community in Murrieta west of Grand Avenue, north of Avenida La Cresta and south of Calle De Lobo, authorities said.
Evacuation warnings, which let residents know they could be ordered to leave at any time, were no longer in place as of 2 p.m., according to the U.S. Forest Service. The public was advised to avoid Grand Avenue due to traffic and emergency vehicles.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District warned residents in parts of Lake Elsinore and the Perris and Temecula valleys closest to the blaze of unhealthy air quality due to smoke and ash wafting in from the fire area.
“Everyone should avoid any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should remain indoors,” SCAQMD said in a press release.
UPDATE: Oct. 27, 12:45 p.m.
Evacuations remained in place Friday, Oct. 27, as firefighters continued to battle the 700-acre Wildomar fire.
Two animal campus, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services Campus in San Jacinto and Animal Friends of the Valleys in Wildomar were open to receive animals from people who were in the evacuation area.
Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh wrote in an email that the animal services is caring for eight horses and six dogs owned by residents in mandatory evacuation areas.
He said that any resident in the evacuation zone of the fire can take dogs, cats, horses, pigs and other pets to the San Jacinto campus with no boarding fees.
Animal Friends of the Valleys can accept smaller animals such as cats and dogs, but asks that larger livestock animals be taken to San Jacinto.
Animal Friends Officer William Tucker said the organization had so far not taken in any animals, but was open and ready to accept them so long as the need continued.
UPDATE: Oct. 27, 11:02 a.m.
Though initially the Murrieta Valley Unified School district said schools would be open, it announced in a Facebook post about 10:16 a.m. that it was going to be letting students out of some schools out of an “abundance of caution” because of concerns the fire could flare up later in the afternoon.
Students at Cole Canyon Elementary, Thompson Middle School, Murrieta Valley High School and Murrieta Canyon Acadamy will be dismissed early, according to posts on the district’s social media pages.
Students will either be let go or be ready to be picked up by their parents at 10:15 a.m. from Cole Canyon, at 11:15 a.m. from Thompson, at 10:30 a.m. from Murrieta Valley and at 10:30 a.m. from Murrieta Canyon.
Students who ride on bus routes that were not impacted by the fire this morning will be released to buses at the times listed and dropped off at their bus stops.
The Lake Elsinore Unified School District has not announced any early dismissals at this point.
The Wildomar fire burning in the hills near Wildomar and Murrieta has now reached 700 acres and is 15 percent contained, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire officials said in an update Friday morning.
An evacuation order has been issued for the area west of Grand Avenue, north of Avenida La Cresta and South of Calle De Lobo in the La Cresta Community. About 200 homes have been evacuated so far, wrote Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokeswoman April Newman.
Other communities remain under evacuation warning.
The Bear Creek Community in Wildomar is under evacuation warning, as are streets in the La Cresta area northwest of Murrieta including Avenida Castilla, Via Caballos, Calle De Suenos, Sierra Maria Road, Vista Flora Road, Teich Lane, Valle Vista, Paseo Del Flores and Paseo Chaparro.
The Lake Elsinore Unified School District has opened up a care and reception center for people affected by the fire at the Lake Elsinore High School gym at 21800 Canyon Drive in Wildomar.
Despite the fire continuing to burn, schools in both the Murrieta Valley Unified School District and Lake Elsinore Unified School District will be open.
“All MVUSD schools will be open today,” the Murrieta school district announced on Twitter at about 5:30 a.m.
While school remains open for students of the district, bus transportation will be impacted in the La Cresta and Bear Creek areas, the district said.
Lake Elsinore Unified School District took to its webpage and social media sites to announce that schools would be open there, too.
“All LEUSD Schools will be open on Friday, Oct. 27, including David A Brown MS, Wildomar ES, William Collier ES, Donald Graham ES, and Lakeland Village School,” district officials said, adding that the school bus transportation and bell schedules would run as normally planned.
“Air Quality protocol will be followed,” the district said.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a statement late Thursday, Oct. 27, announcing air quality had become unhealthy for sensitive groups.
SCAQMD recommends keeping doors and windows shut during times when air quality begins to decline.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.