A wildfire that broke out Friday on a hillside just north of Highway 371 in Anza scorched 55 acres and briefly threatened homes on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation before being partially contained.
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 fire department said 26 engine crews and nine hand crews — more than 250 personnel — were sent to the location and 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 fire.
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 and headed in the direction of homes on the edge of the reservation. Several residents voluntarily evacuated, according to reports from the scene.
At 5:40 p.m., the fire’s rate of spread was stopped, and it was 5% contained. Full containment was expected in the overnight hours. With winds dying down, there were no remaining threats structures, officials said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
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