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Evacuations in San Diego, Riverside county fires

Posted: August 15, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Updated: August 15, 2012 4:00 a.m.
 

AGUANGA, Calif. (AP) — Residents in sparsely populated parts of Riverside and San Diego counties were told to evacuate their homes Tuesday as several wildfires burned in Southern California's desert heat.

Riverside County fire officials said a blaze near the community of Aguanga, east of Temecula, started shortly before 1 p.m. and quickly surged to nearly 3 square miles. Firefighters aided by six air tankers, including a DC-10, had it 5 percent contained.

Nine homes were evacuated and at least one was destroyed. News helicopters showed the two-story house enveloped in flames.

Some 40 miles away, in northeastern San Diego County, residents in Ranchita were told to evacuate as one of four lightning-sparked fires came dangerously close to rural ranch houses. Those fires have burned about 3 square miles.

The four fires that make up the so-called Vallecito Lightning complex now total more than 9 square miles, and the fire is 10 percent contained. CalFire spokeswoman Roxanne Provaznik said firefighters have nearly 23 miles of containment line to construct, and two firefighters have been injured.

Elsewhere in Southern California, a wildfire in Joshua Tree National Park burned 273 acres and was 60 percent contained. Firefighters said they expect to have that fire under control by Friday night.

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