Crews battling a 4,000-acre wildfire fueled by tinder-dry vegetation in the Cleveland National Forest made slight headway Tuesday containing the blaze.

As of 10:30 a.m., the “Holy Fire” was 2 percent contained amid nominal winds and steadily rising temperatures, according to U.S. Forest Service officials.

Rangers said the goal was to keep the flame front from rolling downhill toward Corona, Glen Ivy and surrounding communities bordering the federal land.

Thanks in part to risky overnight air attack operations, the bulk of the brush fire stagnated along the North Main Divide Road in the center of the forest. Cabins throughout Holy Jim and Trabuco canyons, as well as the Blue Jay and El Cariso campgrounds, were under mandatory evacuation orders.

The Holy Fire was reported about 1:15 p.m. Monday near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito.

About 300 firefighters were on the fire line Monday, but another 300 were expected to make their way to the scene. Authorities noted that the rash of fires burning across the state was stretching firefighting resources thin.

Temperatures were expected to hit 105 in the Corona area Tuesday afternoon, and 10-12 mph winds were in the forecast.

Two firefighters suffered heat-related injuries Monday and were treated at a hospital. There were also reports of several unoccupied structures damaged within the forest.

Crews from Orange County, Riverside County and Cal Fire were working through dense vegetation to attempt to get a line around the blaze, but there was no likelihood of extensive containment Tuesday, according to reports from the scene.

Cal Fire air tankers and water-dropping helicopters were requested to conduct aerial fire attack operations after sunset Monday, even though night flying is regarded as inherently dangerous.

Bommarito noted that the area probably hasn’t burned since about 1980.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District renewed a smoke advisory Tuesday, warning of unhealthful conditions because of smoke and ash emanating from the fire and blowing over the Riverside metropolitan area, as well as other parts of the Inland Empire.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.