Nearly 100 firefighters were mopping up hot spots and building containment lines Wednesday at the scene of a brush fire deemed suspicious that charred 139 acres near the late Bob Hope’s former home in Palm Springs.
No structures were threatened, and the blaze’s forward rate of progress was halted, said Palm Springs Fire Department Capt. Nathan Gunkel.
The fire broke out in the hills south of Toledo Avenue and Murray Canyon Drive around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday south of the Hope home on Southridge Drive, in an area with “very difficult access.”
Firefighters from multiple agencies worked to reduce the flames by about 9 p.m., with help from three fixed-wing aircraft and three helicopters dumping water and retardant. A knockdown was called about 10:30 p.m., the department said.
Fire crews worked throughout the night to prevent hot spots from flaring up, a job Gunkel said would continue throughout Wednesday and possibly into the evening.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, although a homeless man located in the area was questioned.
Gunkel cited the lack of electrical equipment in the area, or reports of lightening, as reasons to consider the blaze “suspicious.”
No major injuries were reported, although a hiker inhaled smoke and a firefighter suffered heat exhaustion, although neither were hospitalized, Gunkel said.
The fire charred land belonging to the Bureau of Land Management, near land owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the U.S. Forest Service, according to Gunkel.
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