Crews were making slow but steady progress Monday getting a line around a 1,427-acre brush fire that erupted at the edge of the Cleveland National Forest in southwest Riverside County, prompting evacuation orders that have since been lifted.
The Chaparral Fire was 13% contained as of Monday afternoon, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
“Crews continue adding hose lays to improve perimeter control,” according to an agency statement issued earlier Monday. “The fire is expected to moderate, but short- range spotting, uphill runs and wind-driven runs are possible.”
The USFS said firefighters were strategically clearing brush to prevent the flames from spreading into thicker vegetation.
Mandatory evacuations for residents north of the Tenaja Truck Trail, south of Calle Cielo, east of Calle Collado and west of Calle Be Bietol were lifted Monday afternoon and reduced to evacuation warnings, which previously applied only to the area north of Tenaja Road, west of Calle Pino and Gallop Lane, south of Hombre Lane and west of Cleveland National Forest Road.
All residents can return to their properties, officials said.
Two structures were burned the first day of the fire, which was reported at 12:45 p.m. Saturday in the Cold Springs area, near Tenaja and Cleveland Forest roads. A firefighter suffered minor injuries, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The blaze 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 — set to expire Monday evening — for western Riverside County and the Coachella Valley. Smoke could be seen from Orange and San Diego counties.
The AQMD advised that anyone who can smell smoke or see ash should limit their exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed or seek alternate shelter, and avoid vigorous physical activity.
At the height of the blaze, four air tankers and multiple water-dropping helicopters were making runs on the flames. Along with USFS crews, personnel from the county, Cal Fire-San Diego, Murrieta Fire & Rescue, the Hemet and Corona fire departments were assigned to containment operations. Upwards of 150 firefighters were onsite.
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