A roughly three-acre brush fire that erupted near a landfill along the Santa Ana River bottom in Riverside started in a homeless encampment, authorities said Thursday.
The blaze broke out about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday just north of the Solar Farm Old Landfill in the 5200 block of Tequesquite Avenue, according to the Riverside Fire Department.
Battalion Chief Bruce Vanderhorst said that a dozen engine crews from the city and Riverside County Fire Department were sent to the location and encountered flames raging in heavy vegetation.
Vanderhorst said the head of the fire shifted directions several times amid light to moderate winds, forcing crews to chase it.
“Firefighters were hampered by the lack of access points,” the battalion chief said.
He said that the blaze was soon declared a three-alarm emergency, and crews from the San Bernardino County Fire Department deployed to assist.
No homes or other structures were threatened.
The fire was fully contained shortly before midnight.
An investigation pinpointed the source of the brusher to a transient encampment, where a cooking or related fire had been lit, according to Vanderhorst.
He said an itinerant was located in the camp, suffering from unspecified injuries and was taken to Riverside Community Hospital for treatment.
The river bottom area is dotted with numerous homeless campsites, and fires are common there year-round.