A brush fire that ignited at the edge of the Cleveland National Forest has burned two structures and scorched 1,425 acres, reaching 20% containment Sunday evening and prompting the issuance of a smoke advisory while evacuation orders remain in place.
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.
On Sunday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory for western Riverside County and the Coachella Valley through Monday afternoon. The smoke could be seen from Orange and San Diego counties.
“If you smell smoke or see ash due to a wildfire, limit your exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed or seeking alternate shelter, and avoiding vigorous physical activity,” SCAQMD officials said.
Evacuation orders are now in place for those north of the 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 started at about 12:40 p.m. Saturday near Tenaja and Cleveland Forest roads and initially measured at 25 acres before exploding in size in just a couple of hours.
A firefighter suffered minor injuries and two structures were destroyed, CAL Fire reported.
Firefighters were battling the flames from the ground and air, including the use of four air tankers. Fire crews from the U.S. Forest Service, Murrieta, Hemet and Corona 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.