AGUANGA (CBSLA.com) — A fire raced through more than 3,000 acres of brush, destroyed a home and damaged three structures in a community between Hemet and Temecula Tuesday, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Officials ordered mandatory evacuations for 32 homes on Stanley, Garrett and Checkmate roads, and Reed Valley, fire officials reported. The Aguanga area is sparsely populated with homes, ranches and vegetation. Many residents own animals.
Approximately 200 firefighters were working to contain the blaze and had reached five percent containment Tuesday night, the fire department reported.
Crews unexpectedly came across a marijuana farm on a property they were trying to evacuate.
Airplanes have been flying overhead spraying fire retardant over the soaring flames.
SKY2 reporter Stu Mundel flew over a house engulfed by flames Tuesday night as residents walked nearby. Three other structures have also been damaged by the brush fire.
Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies confirm they are looking for two people in the fire area basin based on information they received from an evacuee. The evacuee said he was with two other people in the area of Stanley Road. They split up and ran in different directions, and he hasn’t seen them since. The Sheriff’s Department has employed the use of a helicopter, K-9 unit and deputies on the ground to search for the missing residents.
Residents were directed to an evacuation center opened by the American Red Cross at the Temecula Community Recreation Center. It is located at 30875 Rancho Vista Road in Temecula.
Other evacuees fled with their animals as many residents in that region own ranches. Riverside Emergency Animal Rescue System was helping to evacuate animals, large and small, and is sheltering them at 581 South Grand Avenue in San Jacinto.