Janet Kwak and David Gregory
Riverside resident Jennifer Heath didn't try to conceal her feelings about the latest brush fire to threaten her home. "I'm scared to death," she said Thursday evening, as flames continued to flare up. Janet Kwak reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2013.
Crews worked overnight to attack a fire that burned near the cities of Riverside and Jurupa Valley, creating plumes of smoke that could be seen for dozens of miles.
As of 3:45 a.m. Friday 200 to 300 acres burned and the fire was about 30 percent contained.
Residents on Greenbrier and Grassy Trail drives were ordered to leave Thursday at 6:50 p.m., according to Riverside authorities. An evacuation center was set up in Nicholas Park, located at 5505 Dewey Avenue in Riverside (map).
All evacuations were voluntary, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. The department clarified its earlier reports that certain orders to leave were mandatory.
The vegetation fire was reported about 4:43 p.m. near Rio Road and Calle Hermosa in Jurupa Valley, at the south end of Santa Ana River Regional Park (map).
Several utility poles went up in flames and powerlines in the area are down. About 1,850 Riverside city residents were without power shortly before 10 p.m.
The fire grew from 10 acres to 50 acres by 5:45 p.m., according to the Riverside County Fire Department's online incident report. The fire had scorched between 50 and 75 acres by 6:50 p.m.; and grew to consume 150 acres by 8:45 p.m.
A wind advisory is in effect for the city of Riverside until 2 p.m. Saturday, with gusts expected to pick up overnight and into the morning.
Wind speeds Thursday night hovered about 10 mph and the humidity level in the area was about 9 percent. Overnight lows in the 40s are expected.
Smoke and flames could be seen for dozens of miles.
Angelenos in Griffith Park reported seeing smoke, 50 miles west of the fire. And while flying in the San Fernando Valley, NewsChopper 4 spotted plumes about 60 miles away from the blaze.
Firefighters used deliberately set blazes (pictured below), known as backfires, to help control the fire. The tactic is meant to burn possible fuel in the fire's path.
No injuries were reported and it was not immediately known if any structures were damaged.
At least 200 firefighters, 24 engines, a dozen helicopters and three water tenders were on scene battling the blaze.
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