Brush Fire Chars Hundreds of Acres in Southern Riverside County

Evacuations were ordered for residents with homes just east of the Paradise Valley Cafe

A brush fire that broke out Monday near the junction of two state highways in east Anza injured a motorist and scorched more than 300 acres, prompting road closures and evacuations.

The so-called Anza Fire was reported about 11:45 a.m. near state Routes 74 and 371, on the outskirts of the Santa Rosa Indian Reservation, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. By mid-afternoon, the fire was 10 percent contained.

Officials initially stated that the blaze was ignited by a mobile home fire, but it was later confirmed that a car fire on Highway 74 sparked the brusher, which quickly spread to surrounding vegetation, burning into the San Bernardino National Forest.

The vehicle was consumed by the flames, and the driver was transported to a hospital for treatment of second- and third-degree burns covering roughly 3 percent of his body, according to the fire department.

Evacuations were ordered for residents with homes just east of the Paradise Valley Cafe, at the 74 and Paradise Drive. The number of homes affected could not be confirmed.

A campsite containing at least eight structures was under threat from the fire, though an on-scene battalion chief did not believe the location was in imminent peril as of 3:30 p.m., according to reports from the scene. It wasn't immediately clear whether the grounds were occupied.

The blaze had the potential to spread to 1,000 acres by nightfall at the current rate of spread, he said.


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Caltrans District 8 said both east- and westbound lanes of the 74 were shut down in the area. Traffic attempting to go west on the 74 was being stopped and turned around in Palm Desert, according to Caltrans.

Seven air tankers and five water-dropping helicopters were doing the bulk of the firefighting because of rugged, inaccessible terrain. The helicopters were using Lake Hemet as a water resource.

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