A 300-acre brush fire that started Thursday at the end of a police pursuit of a stolen car destroyed three homes and two outbuildings in Jurupa Valley before crews got it partially contained.
The “46 Fire” was reported about 12:40 a.m. in the 5300 block of 46th Street, at the west end of Flabob Airport, and was 20% contained late Thursday afternoon, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The wind-whipped fire expanded to 75 acres in less than two hours amid extreme red flag conditions, prompting evacuations for residents in neighborhoods south of Limonite Avenue, west of Crestmore Road, east of Van Buren Boulevard and north of the Santa Ana river bottom. Residents in an area bordered by Riverview Drive, 46th, Calle Hermosa and Rio Road had previously been evacuated.
All evacuation orders were lifted by 2 p.m.
The chase began about 12:15 a.m. when Riverside police officers spotted a 2014 Dodge Dart reported stolen out of Riverside going northbound on Van Buren Boulevard, Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback said.
He alleged that the driver, 23-year-old Bryan Alexis Anguiano, refused to stop and sped away toward Jurupa Valley, where sheriffs deputies joined the chase.
The suspect “drove over several curbs and fencing,” blowing car tires as he careened into a vacant field near the Santa Ana River bottom at 46th Street and Crestmore Road, the officer said.
“It appears heat from the stolen vehicle’s wheels ignited a fire underneath it,” Railsback said. “The car became fully engulfed and led to a vegetation fire in this field and river bottom area.”
Anguiano and his passenger, 28-year-old Kevin Alonso Hidalgo, were apprehended about 1:15 a.m. in the area of Arlington Avenue and Van Buren Boulevard in Riverside.
Anguiano was booked into the Robert Presley Jail on suspicion of auto theft, burglary and felony evading. Hidalgo, a convicted felon, was booked into the same facility on suspicion of parole violations.
About 200 firefighters worked to encircle the brusher, with the help of several Cal Fire water-dropping helicopters.
Road closures were in effect on 46th, Riverview and Rio. Additionally, a temporary flight restriction was active on the north side of Mt. Rubidoux, forcing pilots trying to take off or depart from Flabob to obtain prior authorization from fire personnel.
As a result of the blaze, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he had secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure the availability of resources.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: