UPDATED AT 10:30 p.m. Aug. 14: Four structures have been destroyed, a civilian has been severely burned, two firefighters have been injured, 32 residences have been evacuated, and more are threatened due to the fast-moving Buck Fire in Aguanga, according to Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department.
At press time, the blaze was mapped at 3,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained.
Cal Fire spokesman Glenn Barley confirmed the fire initially ate up 1,800 acres by 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"It's burned pretty agressively throughout the day," he said of the blaze. "It's still burning heavy at the head of the fire. Others [homes] are threatened."
As the sun set Tuesday, Barley said firefighters would be working through the night and Wednesday.
Two firefighters have been injured in the blaze and were transported to a local hospital, although Cal Fire reports the injuries were minor.
A civilian was transported to a local hospital via air for treatment of serious burn injuries, Cal Fire has confirmed.
The blaze was reported to fire officials just before 1 p.m. Tuesday and was initially burning near Sage Road, between Lewis Valley and Buck roads. At press time, firefighters were battling the blaze in Reed Valley.
Two-hundred and ten firefighters are on scene, including "significant" ground and air resources, Cal Fire reports.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for residents north of Sage Road, south of Stanley Road, east of Benton Road and west of Reed Valley Road. An evacuation center has been opened by the American Red Cross at the Community Recreation Center, located at 30875 Rancho Vista Road in Temecula.
Greg Good lost his trailer home in the blaze and appeared at the evacuation center tonight in tears. Lynda Shoemaker, a Red Cross volunteer who is managing the center tonight, said Good told her he was trying to douse flames when his dogs escaped and went missing. They are described as large brown Scottish Deerhounds. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
Good was the only evacuee at the center as of 7 p.m. Tuesday.
A Patch reporter at the fire scene said the blaze was located in a remote area that's difficult to reach. Homes and ranches dot the landscape, but it appears most residents cleared out of areas immediately threatened. Firefighters are posted at homes located close to the blaze.
Melanie Helton, owner of Helton Hay and Feed in Menifee, said she and her husband can take in horses and other livestock that may be displaced by the blaze. The couple own a 6-acre ranch near their feedstore and said they have room to house at-risk animals.
Additionally, Helton said the horse community has reached out to her and she now has a list of other property owners throughout Riverside County who can take animals that need temporary shelter due to the fire. She also has an extensive list of volunteers who can help with transport.
"It's great to see the community come together," she said.
Helton can be reached throughout the night at (951) 775-2226.
Riverside County's San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus located at 581 S. Grand Ave. can be used, if necessary, as a place where property owners forced to evacuate can bring small animals.
"We will have staff members there throughout the night and into the early morning hours," said Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh.
Additionally, county animal services representatives are on scene in the Buck Fire area to assist with pet and livestock evacuations, Welsh said.
A clerk at Aguanga General Store on State Route 79 said the market remained open for business Tuesday and was never immediately threatened by the fire. Although there was a great deal of smoke, the clerk said as afternoon winds picked up and began blowing eastward, visibility near the store improved.
Battling the blaze is a multi-agency effort. Cal Fire teams from Riverside and San Diego counties are assigned, as well as personnel from the Orange County Fire Authority and the U.S. Forest Service, according to Cal Fire reports. Also assisting with coordination are the American Red Cross, Riverside County Office of Emergency Services, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and Southern California Edison.
It’s not clear what may have sparked the blaze, although fire officials were on high alert due to weather conditions that called for afternoon thunderstorms and lightning.