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Residents forced to evacuate as Chaparral fire near La Cresta is seen across 3 counties

Firefighters were battling a brush fire that grew to 450 acres near the southwest edge of the La Cresta community in Riverside County on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

A thick plume of smoke from the Chaparral fire, as it was dubbed, could be seen throughout south Orange County and south Riverside County communities such as Murrieta and Temecula, as well as in north San Diego County. The fire appeared to be be burning along the border of Riverside and San Diego counties.

Officials ordered some residents to leave their homes as flames threatened houses north of Tenaja Road, south of Calle Cielo, east of Calle Collado and west of Calle be Bietol, the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department said.

It was unclear how many residents were affected by evacuations. Some of the homes — three houses near Tenaja Road and Cold Springs Road — already sat empty as firefighters inspected the homes and found no residents inside, said Nathan Judy, spokesman for the Cleveland National Forest.

First reported at 12:38 p.m. at Tenaja Road and Cleveland Forest Road, the fire has been burning through thick vegetation and moving at a moderate rate, fire officials said.

At least 150 ground and air crews from Cal Fire/Riverside County fire and the Cleveland National Forest, along with other local agencies, were at the scene battling the blaze. The fire was 0% contained as of 4:30 p.m.

La Cresta is a small unincorporated community in the western edge of Riverside County, tucked into the Santa Ana Mountains.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

This is a developing story. Please check back for more later.

Source: Orange County Register

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