Evacuations were ordered Saturday evening as firefighters worked to put out a 40-acre brushfire in the community of Oasis that was moving toward nearby Thermal.

Evacuations were ordered for the area of Pierce Street at Avenue 70 and an evacuation warning was issued for Harrison Street at Avenue 70, both in Thermal.

Evacuees could go to a care and reception center established at the Mecca Public Library at 91260 66th Ave., in nearby Mecca.

The so-called 72 Fire was reported at 3:34 p.m. as two to three acres off Highway 86 at Avenue 72 but quickly grew to five to seven acres, the Riverside County Fire Department reported.

The flames were moving westward into a mulch field pushed by 10-15 mph winds and gusts of 20 mph, fire officials said.

At 5:38 p.m., fire officials reported the blaze had grown to about 40 acres in heavy fuels with a moderate rate of spread, but that crews were making progress at gaining control.

At about 7:30 p.m., fire officials reported about 10% of the fire was surrounded by lines of cleared vegetation

About 120 firefighters were on the scene including those from Cathedral City, Palm Springs, Hemet, Morongo and Soboba. An incident report indicated no aircraft were involved.

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