A wildfire that erupted on the north side of Corona Municipal Airport grew to 1,000 acres Friday, but crews continued to widen containment lines, and no homes or other structures were threatened as winds abated.
“It’s looking really good around the airport,” Corona Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Peterson said in a briefing. “We have aircraft to support our firefighters, who are progressing, working toward (full containment).”
The non-injury blaze, dubbed the Airport Fire, was 20% contained by nightfall, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Because most of the fire activity had slackened around the Corona (71) Freeway, which sustained damage along the roadway edges, mainly the guardrails, Cal Fire and Corona fire personnel decided it was safe to reopen.
The southbound side closure was lifted at 11:10 a.m., and the northbound closure almost exactly an hour later. The corridor had been shut down between the Riverside (91) Freeway and Chino Hills.
The fire broke out shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday within the Prado Reservoir, bordering Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
About 300 personnel from multiple agencies were sent to the location, encountering flames in thick vegetation, burning at a moderate rate away from the airport.
Cal Fire air tankers and water-dropping helicopters have been rotating on and off the fire lines daily. Two choppers were overhead earlier Friday, according to reports from the scene.
Several structures were threatened in the initial stages of the blaze, but crews prevented the flames from causing damage, according to reports from the scene.
It took about five hours on Wednesday for the fire to char 50 acres. By Thursday morning, it had devoured 105 acres, and by Thursday evening, it had grown to 750 acres, according to the county fire department.
The blaze began in the same area as a small fire reported in the predawn hours Wednesday and was contained a short time later. There was no word on whether the two were connected, or what might have sparked either blaze.
The airport was shut down because of the firefighting activity, and a temporary flight restriction was imposed, covering a five-mile diameter space around the field and up to 5,000 feet.
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