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Liberty Fire near Murrieta at 300 acres

Fire 60% contained

MURRIETA, Calif. - A wildfire that broke out just northeast of Murrieta amid strong Santa Ana winds was 60 percent contained Friday after scorching 300 acres and destroying a hilltop home and other buildings.

The non-injury "Liberty Fire'' was reported at 1:15 p.m. Thursday in the area of Liberty and Los Alamos roads in an unincorporated community bordering French Valley, Murrieta and Winchester, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

The blaze swept toward the Murrieta city limits, and the Murrieta Fire Department took the lead in battling the brusher overnight, with the help of crews from the county, Cathedral City, Corona, Hemet, Palm Springs and other fire agencies.

Along with a single-family home, six outbuildings have been lost to the flames, according to the fire department.

The wildfire hasn't increased in size since Thursday evening.

Evacuation orders were lifted for properties on multiple streets that were initially under an immediate threat. According to Murrieta firefighters, evacuations are still in effect for residents who live along Los Alamos, between Briggs Road and Ruth Ellen Drive, as well as on MacLean Avenue and Golden Eagle Avenue.

An evacuation center was open at Mesa High School, 24801 Monroe St. The county Department of Animal Services was accepting evacuated pets at its San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, 581 S. Grand Ave.

According to the county Office of Education, all schools in the Murrieta Valley Unified School District were closed because of the fire and Santa Ana wind event.

Winds were gusting over 30 mph in the area late Thursday afternoon and began picking up again about noon today.

A Red Flag warning denoting a high risk of wildfire stemming from strong winds and low humidity was issued for the region through Sunday night.

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