A brush fire that broke out Thursday near Interstate 10 in Calimesa destroyed mobile homes and threatened others, injuring an unknown number of people and charring more than 500 acres as it spread to neighboring San Bernardino County.
The Sandalwood Fire was reported at 1:58 p.m. at Sandalwood Drive and Seventh Street, near the I-10 exit ramp, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Wind-driven flames spread into the Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park, initially destroying at least five residences, but by late afternoon, at least two dozen mobile homes appeared to have been consumed by the flames.
It was unclear how many of the homes were occupied at the time. Fire officials reported “numerous medical emergencies” at the mobile home park, but the number and types of injuries could not be immediately confirmed.
Evacuations were ordered for residences south of Seventh Street and east of County Line Road, as well as nearby Mesa View Middle School, officials said. An ambulance was called to the school, but it was not immediately known whether the emergency was related to the fire or something else. Mesa View Middle School students were taken by bus to Calimesa Elementary School in Yucaipa.
A care and reception center for evacuees was established at the Calimesa Senior Center, 908 Park Ave. The county Department of Animal Services deployed staff to the area to assist with pet evacuations.
Six Cal Fire air tankers and several water-dropping helicopters were summoned to make runs on the brusher, which expanded into San Bernardino County, approaching the city of Redlands, shortly before 3 p.m.
Crews from the San Bernardino County and Redlands fire departments joined Riverside County under a unified command.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
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