A brush fire that erupted in the Cleveland National Forest near Orange County’s Holy Jim Canyon expanded into Riverside County Monday, burning through decades-old vegetation and creating high columns of smoke visible for miles.
The “Hole Fire” was reported about 1:15 p.m., initially near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito.
As of 6 p.m., the brusher was 1,200 acres and rolling downhill toward the Main Divide forest road, within sight of south Corona, El Cerrito and Glen Ivy Hot Springs.
Smoke from the fire tinted the skies above Corona, Riverside and Moreno Valley, turning the atmosphere a rust brown with several hours of daylight still left.
Crews from Orange County, Riverside County and Cal Fire were working through the dense vegetation to attempt to get a line around the blaze, but there was no likelihood of containment overnight or even Tuesday, according to reports from the scene.
Cal Fire air tankers and water-dropping helicopters were requested to conduct aerial fire attack operations beyond sunset.
At least one cabin was engulfed by flames, Bommarito said.
Precautionary evacuation orders were issued for the sparsely populated Holy Jim community and Trabuco Canyon area, home to dozens of weekend cabins. Also, Blue Jay Campground and El Cariso Campground, off of state Route 74 on the OC side were evacuated.
Two firefighters fell ill from heat exhaustion but were expected to be fine. Temperatures were hovering around 100, even at the higher elevations.
The OCFA said residents in the Holy Jim area can call the fire hotline at (714) 628-7085 for updates.
Bommarito said the area probably hasn’t burned since about 1980. Chaparral was estimated to be seven or eight feet high in places.