At least one large home was consumed by flames as firefighters and water-dropping aerial units battled a raging brush fire in the Murrieta area in Riverside County, Calif., Wednesday afternoon.
Firefighters tried to retrieve some items from the house before it was hollowed out by fierce flames, aerial video showed.
The burned home, which was billowing smoke at about 4 p.m., appeared to be on Corte Providencia in Murrieta (map). Another home may have burned as well, it appeared from aerial video.
The blaze began at about 11:30 a.m. and grew to about 400 acres by about 3:30 p.m. Fire officials said it appeared to be holding at that size. It was about 10 percent contained just before 5 p.m.
Thirty-five engine crews, six water tender companies and six hand crews – totalling nearly 240 firefighters – were battling the flames.
A half-dozen water-dropping helicopters and a like number of air tankers were called into action to help contain the blaze.
One firefighter was being treated for minor injuries.
Most of the side roads in the area are dirt, with homes built along hillsides.
The area burning is southwest of Murrieta in unincorporated Riverside County, near Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, a 9,000-acre county park in the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains.
Fire officials are attempting to determine the cause of the fire.
No evacuations were ordered, though a "soft" evacuation was in place for those in the area who felt unsafe, officials said.
The American Red Cross has opened a temporary evacuation center for those who voluntarily evacuated at Murrieta Valley High School, located at 42200 Nighthawk Way in Murrieta (map).
Full containment was not expected by the Riverside County Fire Department until 8 a.m. Thursday, with full control not expected till 6:00 p.m. Thursday.
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