Firefighters will continue mopping up hot spots and building containment lines overnight at the scene of a brush fire that charred 140 acres near a home in Palm Springs once owned by the late comedian Bob Hope and sent three firefighters to the hospital suffering from heat exhaustion.

Four people were reported injured in total, including the three firefighters who have since been released from the hospital, stemming from the fire that began Tuesday afternoon in the southern hills of Palm Springs, said Palm Springs Fire Department Capt. Nathan Gunkel.

No structures were threatened, and the blaze’s rate of progress was halted, Gunkel said. The blaze was 50% contained as of 4:30 p.m.

The fire broke out around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the hills south of Murray Canyon Drive and Toledo Avenue, 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, an effort that continued Wednesday for upwards of 100 firefighters. About 25 firefighters will remain on scene overnight, with more expected to arrive Thursday morning, Gunkel said.

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.”

Three firefighters suffered heat exhaustion and were treated at a hospital Wednesday, then released, Gunkel said. A hiker also inhaled smoke, but did not require hospitalization, he said.

The fire charred 100 acres belonging to the Bureau of Land Management, with another 40 owned by the city of Palm Springs, according to Gunkel.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *