A brush fire that ignited Saturday afternoon at the edge of the Cleveland National Forest has grown to at least 1,200 acres and prompted evacuation orders.
The massive wildfire spans both Riverside and San Diego counties. On the Riverside County side, it is burning in the southwestern end of La Cresta, an unincorporated community at the foot of the Santa Ana mountains.
Evacuation orders are now in place for those north of Tenaja Truck Trail, south of Calle Cielo, east of Calle Collado and west of Calle Be Bietol, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Additionally, an evacuation warning is in place for those north of Tenaja Road, west of Calle Pino/Gallop Lane, south of Hombre Lane and west of Cleveland National Forest Road.
“Residents should go now,” the fire department said. An evacuation center was opened at Murrieta Valley High School, 42200 Nighthawk Way, fire officials said. Small animals can be taken to Animal Friends of the Valleys, 33751 Mission Trail in Wildomar. Large animals can be taken to the San Jacinto Animal Shelter, 581 S. Grand Ave., in San Jacinto.
The blaze broke out at around 12:40 p.m. near Tenaja and Cleveland Forest roads and was 0% contained, fire officials said.
The fire, being dubbed the Chaparral Fire, was initially measured at up to 25 acres before exploding in size in just a couple of hours.
Firefighters were battling the flames from the ground and air, including the use of four air tankers. U.S. Forest Service fire crews were assisting the 150 firefighters from Riverside and San Diego counties.
The Orange County Fire Authority tweeted a picture of one of its helicopters making a water drop over a home.
The smoke could be seen from Orange and San Diego counties.