UPDATE 9:46 p.m.: Fire burned 350 acres.

UPDATE 8:00 p.m.: Executive Office PIO Ray Smith said the fire was caused by a county Transportation Department worker mowing alongside a road.

“Each year, the county works to reduce the chance of fire by clearing brush and weeds along roadsides,” he said. “The fire is a tragedy for the residents whose homes are threatened and whose lives and families are being disrupted. County officials will do everything in their power to assist them.”

UPDATE 7:46 p.m.: Fire is now 50 percent contained.

AP reports the fire’s cause was accidental.  Brush was ignited by sparks that were sent off when the motor of brush-clearing equipment became entangled in some barbed wire, according to CalFire spokesman Phil Rawlings.

MURRIETA (CBSLA.com/AP) — A brush fire burning west of Murrieta has destroyed at least one home as crews fought to contain the 400-acre blaze.

Dubbed the “Volcano Fire,” the blaze was reported about 11:30 a.m. at Tenaja and Via Volcano roads in the unincorporated Riverside County community of Deluz, authorities said. One home was confirmed lost and one firefighter is being treated for minor injuries.

Neighbors said the homeowners own a restaurant and weren’t home at the time of the blaze. One person described the lost structure as a “beautiful, resort-like property.”

The fire was 10 percent contained as of 4:35 p.m., according to Cal Fire, which estimates full containment Thursday at 8 a.m.

Around 190 personnel from 20 county fire engine crews and three hand crews have been sent to battle the fire, which has the potential to spread to 1,500 acres, according to reports from the scene.

Five water-dropping helicopters and six air tankers were also called into action to help contain the fire.

The American Red Cross has opened a temporary evacuation center for those who voluntarily evacuated at Murrieta Valley High School, 42200 Nighthawk.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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