A fire near the Prado Dam Flood Control Basin has spread to 1,000 acres and is threatening nearly 300 homes along Bluff Street, Stagecoach Drive and Homestead Road in the cities of Norco, Corona, and unincorporated areas of Riverside County, according to Captain Mike Mohler of Cal Fire.
Fire officials found out that the cause of the fire was due to an unattended cooking fire. At 6:12 p.m. Saturday, firefighters responded to a report of trees on fire in the area, which caused 300 homes to be evacuated. Almost 335 firefighters were called to the scene and two water-dropping helicopters and two air tankers were deployed.
“We have so much fuel, but just because the fuel beds for so thick, crews are going to be here for days trying to mop this up,” Captain Mohler said Saturday night. At that point, the fire had spread to 300 acres and only 15 percent contained.
As of Sunday night, the fire had burned through 1,020 acres and was 35 percent contained, fire officials said.
The blazing smoke isvisible for 20 miles along State Routes 71 and 91, from Simi Valley to Ventura County, and may remain for several days, fire officials said.
Overnight, nearly 500 firefighters battled the flames.
The evacuation orders for nearly 300 homes were lifted early Sunday morning, Cal Fire officials said. There have been no reports of damaged structures or deaths.
“We’re advising people to stay safe, not only Southern California but state-wide,” Mohler said Monday Morning. “This is a good example of an area that hasn’t burned in decades, and just goes to show that the drought really has affected us.”
California is getting an early start to wildfire season, assisted by the fourth year of a drought. The area where the Highway Fire is burning has not burned in 90 years, officials said during a morning briefing.
Rain is expected to hit the area starting Tuesday which authorities say could help get the blaze under control.
Photo courtesy of John Valenzuela, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
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