The Opera Fire burning in Riverside County's Highgrove area, April 30, 2017. Photo: Riverside County Fire Department/CalFire
The Opera Fire burning in Riverside County’s Highgrove area, April 30, 2017. Photo: Riverside County Fire Department/CalFire

Firefighters were battling a 1,200-acre brushfire Sunday that was being fueled by windy conditions and fast-burning vegetation near the Interstate 215 freeway in Riverside County, and firefighting efforts were being stalled by drones flying in the area, according to authorities.

The fire was reported at 3:43 p.m. in a field near Opera Loop and East Palmyrita Avenue in the Highgrove area of Riverside, according to April Newman of the Riverside County Fire Department.

“The fire is burning in light fuels at a rapid rate of spread,” she said.

The blaze, dubbed the Opera Fire, quickly grew from about 10 acres to more than 1,200 acres by 7:20 p.m. and was only 15 percent contained, Newman said. Structures were also being threatened by the blaze.

Newman also said there are drones flying in the area that are hampering fire-fighting efforts.

“If you fly, we can’t. Please ground all drones immediately,” she said.

So far the department has dispatched more than 100 firefighters to the scene, along with three water-dropping helicopters, two air tankers and two bulldozers, Newman said.

No injuries have been reported so far, she added.

–City News Service

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