The Board of Supervisors is slated Tuesday to approve a local emergency proclamation stemming from three wildfires that erupted in Riverside County during last week’s Santa Ana windstorm, ensuring the county can access state and federal relief to mitigate the impact of the fires.
“The `Water,’ `Hill’ and `46′ Fires caused property damage, displacement of residents and the evacuation of medical facilities,” according to the county’s Local Emergency Declaration, issued by Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton. “Evacuation orders (were) issued for the communities of Nuevo, Jurupa Valley and surrounding areas.”
Under state law, a county’s EMD director or similarly authorized figure can designate a local emergency, but it only lasts seven days unless formally approved by the governing body for that area.
The board’s declaration will enable the county to apply for state and federal assistance to cope with the fallout of the Oct. 30 fires.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has already proclaimed a state of emergency for the county and has secured Federal Emergency Management Agency grants to promote recovery efforts, according to the governor’s office.
The 46 and Hill blazes were contained over the weekend, while the Water Fire was knocked down roughly four hours after it started on Wednesday morning.
The five-acre brusher, propelled by wind gusts exceeding 60 mph on the boundary separating Nuevo and Perris, prompted mandatory evacuations and damaged one unoccupied structure in the 26000 block of Water Avenue.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The Hill Fire erupted about 10 a.m. Wednesday in the area of Granite Hill Drive and Pyrite Street, on the north side of the Pomona (60) Freeway, in Jurupa Valley.
At the height of the blaze, both sides of the freeway were shut down, and residences and businesses on streets between Pyrite to the east and Country Village Road to the west were evacuated.
The Miller Progressive Care Home, where 75 patients reside, some of them immobile, was included in the evacuation order, as well as Granite Hill Elementary School.
Two residences were damaged in the blaze, and Southern California Edison shut off electricity to a large swath of Jurupa Valley to prevent power lines pushed down by the winds from igniting additional fires.
The 630-acre brusher, which remains under investigation, was completely contained Saturday afternoon.
The 46 Fire started after a police pursuit ended in a field near 46th Street and Crestmore Road, just west of Flabob Airport, in Jurupa Valley during the predawn hours Thursday.
An alleged stolen sedan erupted in flames in the field, and with Santa Ana winds propelling the fire, it quickly expanded, leading to evacuations on multiple streets.
Three residences sustained major damage, along with four outbuildings and two commercial structures, according to county fire officials.
The 330-acre blaze was contained Sunday afternoon.