FRIDAY - As of 4:20 PM multiple fires are challenging firefighters in windy conditions around the Inland Empire. Here are some details:
RECHE CANYON - The Reche Fire
A blaze that broke out today just north of Moreno Valley has blackened 200 acres amid high winds, threatening homes and prompting evacuations. According to the Riverside County Fire Department, the Reche Fire was reported just before 1:00 PM on Reche Canyon Road, near Reche Vista Drive. Fire officials said the blaze started with a trailer fire and jumped into surrounding vegetation, propelled by intense northeast winds. According to reports, the flame front was pushing west into rugged terrain which was inaccessible to fire trucks. Several dozen engine crews were sent to the location, as well as four Cal Fire air tankers and two water-dropping helicopters. By 1:30 p.m., the flames were approaching residences, and sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers initiated mandatory evacuations east of Reche Vista Drive. Reche Canyon was closed by the CHP between Reche Vista and Locust Avenue.
CALIMESA - The Sandlewood Fire
A brush fire that broke out today near Interstate 10 in Calimesa destroyed multiple mobile homes and threatened others has charred at least 500 acres with no containment. According to the Riverside County Fire Department, the blaze was reported around 2:00 PM at Sandalwood Drive and Seventh Street. The wind-driven flames spread into the Sandalwood Mobile Home Park, initially destroying at least five residences but quickly spreading to an unknown number of others. It was unclear if the homes were occupied, but no injuries were reported. Evacuations were ordered for the remaining residences, as well as nearby Mesa View Middle School. Six Cal Fire air tankers and several water-dropping helicopters were summoned to make runs on the brusher, which expanded into San Bernardino County, approaching the city of Redlands, shortly before 3 p.m. Crews from the San Bernardino County and Redlands fire departments joined Riverside County under a unified command. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
A wildfire that erupted today about a mile west of Lake Mathews blackened roughly 25 acres amid stiff winds. The non-injury blaze was reported at 12:05 p.m. in the 20300 block of Eagle Canyon Road, near Cajalco Road, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. Multiple engine crews from the county and Corona Fire Department encountered flames in a drainage canal, with 15-20 mph winds propelling the fire, according to reports from the scene. A battalion chief immediately requested two Cal Fire water-dropping helicopters and two air tankers, which made runs on the brusher, establishing retardant lines to keep it from reaching homes and other structures. There were no evacuations. The fire's progress was stopped at 1:10 p.m., and crews were making steady progress encircling it, according to reports from the scene. The cause of the fire was under investigation.