by | Jan 15, 2018 | Cover Story, Culture, page 2 | 1 comment

On December 7, 2017 a wildfire broke out on an unpaved road in Murrieta, California. 300 acres of unincorporated land was burned, one structure and six outbuildings were lost. Though it was one of the smaller in last year’s long list of wildfires, it was one that hit close to home. While I was gearing up for finals week, my sister called to ask if there was anything important I needed out of the house. My mother said she could see the wall of flames across the street while standing in our driveway and was preparing for the worst. Aircraft flew low overhead to deliver bright red fire retardant to contain the blaze, which still stains the landscape. A friend of mine who lived at the base of a hill which the fire was eventually contained on was given an evacuation notice. Property owned by my family was charred in the process, but fortunately my mother’s home was unscathed. Thankfully, no one was physically harmed. Over the winter holiday, I went with a friend to inspect the damage left by the fire. These are some of the sights we found.


One of the backstreets near Liberty Road, where the fire began.


This land has been a habitat for all kinds of wildlife for the sixteen years I’ve lived in Murrieta. We encountered no animals while photographing.


The telephone lines dangerously close to the site of the fire.


A dramatic line dividing what was saved and what was burned.


One of the few shrubs that managed to keep some of its leaves.


Fire retardant covers a large swath of the unincorporated land. Much of the plant life covered in it still manages to survive.


Budding palm trees like this one refuse to give out.


One of the many homes that narrowly escaped destruction.


Some homes have red-stained front yards.


These white plastic fences are a common sight around Murrieta. Unfortunately, they don’t provide much fire protection.


One of the outbuildings that collapsed from fire damage, and a charred vehicle. Luckily, the family’s home was unscathed.


photos contributed by Redlands Bulldog photographer Jonathan Ruhlman. 



<a href="" target="_self">Jono Ruhlman</a>

Jono Ruhlman

Former Editor-in-Chief. Class of 2020.

1 Comment

  1. Sandi Tierney

    Jones Ruhlman ….Thank You for giving us the pictures that show the damage that was done by the fire. I am in Murietta and because it was not covered as much bý the Press, we had no idea how much was lost.
    Thanks again for your wonderful photography……. Sandi