Firefighters Gain Ground on 1,350-Acre Brush Fire in Riverside County

A 1,350-acre brush fire dubbed the Opera fire in Riverside County, one of several wildfires that broke out during a weekend of hot and gusty conditions, was fully contained by Tuesday morning.  

The Opera fire was reported around 3:45 p.m. Sunday near Opera Loop and East Palmyrita Avenue in the Highgrove community. The Riverside County Fire Department said the fire "quickly spread as the wind pushed the fire through the light, flashy fuels at a rapid rate." 

As of midnight, the fire was at 1,350 acres. The fire was 75 percent contained Monday morning and no longer threatening structures.

Initially no homes were threatened, but the fire moved rapidly toward homes as fire crews worked to defend at least 40 of them. By early Monday morning, that number was reduced to 15 homes. 

"I could see the flames. I could see the burned areas on the other side of the ridge here from my driveway," Riverside resident Jody Sweeten said. 

"I just want to make sure my house is going to be standing," she added.  

At one point, a drone in the area halted all aircraft several hours in to the fire fight, but the aerial drops resumed until sunset. 

No homes have been damaged and no injuries have been reported. 

The Opera fire was one of several blazes burning across the Inland Empire. The Jameson fire and the Tower fire also charred several acres.

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