Murrieta schools closed Friday due to smoke from area fire

An air tanker flies through the smoke from the Liberty Fire, which burned in the hills near Los Alamos Road on Thursday. Photo by Olivia ...

An air tanker flies through the smoke from the Liberty Fire, which burned in the hills near Los Alamos Road on Thursday.
Photo by Olivia Depuydt

Story updated at 8:30 a.m.:

All schools in the Murrieta Valley Unified School District will be closed on Friday because of expected poor air quality related to the Liberty Fire, which burned 300 acres in the hills of east Murrieta. Fire officials said Friday morning the fire is 60 percent contained.

An announcement from MVUSD cited concerns about the effects of smoke both from the Liberty Fire and the Lilac Fire, which had burned more than 4,000 acres near Fallbrook by Thursday night. Strong winds have carried the smoke throughout the area and could still fan the flames, fire officials said. All schools in the Menifee Union School District will also be closed on Friday.

The Liberty Fire started about 1:15 p.m. near Liberty Road and Los Alamos Road in a rural area of unincorporated Murrieta. Cause of the fire is unknown. Several local neighborhoods were evacuated in mid-afternoon, but all evacuations were lifted by the evening except for a rural stretch of Los Alamos Road between Ruth Ellen and Briggs Road. Although the fire was listed as only 10 percent contained Thursday night, there was little evidence of flames from the ground. There is concern about the wind spreading embers to new hot spots, however.

Only one structure was lost. That sat atop a hill near Crawford Canyon Drive, just south of Los Alamos Road. Residents watched from local streets as flames engulfed the home in a fire that could be seen for some distance. No injuries to humans were reported, but several horses and other animals were relocated.


A home burning at the top of a hill on Crawford Canyon Drive is the only reported structure loss.
Murrieta 24/7 photo: Doug Spoon

Smoke surrounding a hill at Crawford Canyon Drive and Los Alamos Road is seen from a distance.
Murrieta 24/7 photo: Doug Spoon
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Green star indicates the origin of the Liberty Fire. Red star shows the location of a home that burned down

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