A wildfire that broke out Friday on a hillside just north of Highway 371 in Anza scorched roughly 30 acres and threatened homes on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation before crews slowed down it down, thanks to help from Cal Fire aircraft.
The non-injury blaze was reported at 3:25 p.m. in the area of Indian Road and Deer Mountain Way, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. Staff at the nearby Cahuilla Indian Casino were the first to spot the flames and called 911.
The 26 engine crews and nine hand crews sent to the location encountered flames burning at a moderate rate to the north, approaching power lines and a ranch. Because the fire was burning on a slope with no access for vehicles, five Cal Fire air tankers and two water-dropping helicopters were summoned to make runs on the brusher.
They established retardant lines that prevented the blaze from jumping a dirt road. However, propelled by a stiff desert breeze, the fire picked up speed at one point and headed in the direction of homes on the edge of the reservation.
Several residents voluntarily evacuated, according to reports from the scene. Firefighters did not request an evacuation.
Crews were making progress typing up one flank of the fire, but there was no estimate on containment as of 5 p.m.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
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