A possible arson fire ignited Wednesday in a field adjacent to a private school in Winchester scorched 2 1/2 acres before crews got it under control.
The non-injury blaze was reported about 11:30 a.m. in the area of Elliott and Pat roads, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Multiple engine crews were sent to the location and encountered flames moving at a moderate rate through light brush, a couple of hundred yards from the Harvest Hill Academy, which was evacuated as a precaution prior to firefighters’ arrival.
Winds were picking up, and a Cal Fire water-dropping helicopter and an air tanker were sent to make runs on the brusher, but the aircraft were canceled after they reached the area because crews were making quick progress establishing containment lines, according to reports from the scene.
The fire’s forward rate of spread was halted at 11:45 a.m., and by noon, it was close to full containment.
A battalion chief at the scene identified potential signs that the blaze had been intentionally set, and arson investigators were dispatched to inspect the ignition source and other indices.