California Wildfires

Brush Fire Burns Hundreds of Acres in Cleveland National Forest

Thick smoke billowed from a canyon area west of Lake Elsinore and could be see throughout the region.

A brush fire broke out Wednesday March 2, 2022 in Southern California's Cleveland National Forest

Smoke could be seen for miles around after a brush fire broke out Wednesday in Southern California's Cleveland National Forest, but it did not threaten homes or other structures.

The Jim Fire expanded to more than 400 acres during a warm afternoon in the rugged canyon area. It was estimated at more than 500 acres early Thursday.

The fire started around 11:20 a.m. in the Holy Jim trail area in a drainage bottom and spread uphill. Containment was at 15 percent Thursday morning.

Details about a cause were not immediately available.

Thick smoke rising from the forest area west of Lake Elsinore could be seen from around Southern California, including Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Eight engine crews and two hand crews were initially deployed to the location, encountering flames in thick vegetation, according to the USFS. Two CAL FIRE air tankers and two water-dropping helicopters were called in to make runs on the flames.

Cleveland National Forest officials had been planning to conduct a prescribed
burn on Wednesday in a different location, but that was canceled.

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The fire was burning near the site of the 2018 Holy Fire, which burned more than 23,000 acres and forced evacuations in multiple Riverside County communities.

About 430 brush fires have been reported in California this year, according to the state’s firefighting agency. More than 500 were reported during the same period last year.

This year’s fires have burned 5,161 acres, compared to 1,698 at this time in 2021, according to CAL FIRE statistics.

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