Riverside County

Apple Fire Chars 28,085 Acres, 30% Contained

In addition to the four homes destroyed by the flames, eight outbuildings were lost.

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The Apple Fire raging in the mountains in the San Bernardino National Forest has blackened 28,085 acres, destroyed four homes and eight other structures, and is 30% contained this morning, authorities said.

Fire officials are estimating the blaze could be fully contained as soon as Aug. 17, according to Kate Kramer of the U.S. Forest Service. 

The Morongo Basin Sheriff's Station also announced an evacuation warning for the Morongo Valley community.

In addition to the four homes destroyed by the flames, eight outbuildings were lost. One of the homes and two of the outbuildings were located near Avenida Miravilla, Cal Fire said. It was unclear where the other structures were located.

The head of the Apple Fire is on a mountainside in San Bernardino County, according to the USFS. A total of 20 water-dropping aircraft -- 19 helicopters and one fixed-wing -- were working to establish containment boundaries, as more than 2,500 personnel on the ground gradually attempted to encircle the brusher.

The fire was continuing to spread north, deeper into San Bernardino County, and east into the San Gorgonio wilderness, the USFS said. 


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One USFS firefighter suffered minor injuries, Kramer said.

All mandatory evacuations associated with the Apple Fire were lifted Tuesday in Riverside County. 

In San Bernardino County, mandatory evacuation orders associated with the Apple Fire remained in place east of Oak Glen Road. 

Non-mandatory evacuation warnings in San Bernardino County also remained in effect in Forest Falls, Rimrock and Pioneertown, the USFS said.    

The American Red Cross closed its temporary evacuation center at Beaumont High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but residents under the Oak Glen evacuation order could receive assistance from the Red Cross by calling 571-595-7774.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state will receive a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help ensure resources will be available to fight the fire. It will also allow local, state and tribal agencies responding to the fire to apply for 75% reimbursement of their eligible costs, Newsom said.

Officials estimated that 2,600 residences and 7,800 people have been evacuated since the blaze began. 

The smoke column from the fire was visible throughout much of Southern California.

Along with county fire crews, personnel from the Calimesa, Morongo, Murrieta, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Huntington Beach, Hemet, Pechanga, San Bernardino, Soboba, Los Angeles and Los Angeles County fire departments wer sent to assist under a mutual aid request.

The fire erupted in Cherry Valley about 5 p.m. Friday in the area of Apple Tree Lane and Oak Glen Road and investigators determined it was sparked by a malfunctioning diesel vehicle that was belching burning matter from its exhaust pipe, Cal Fire said.

Anyone with further information about the start of the fires was urged to call the Cal Fire hotline at 800-633-2836. Callers may remain anonymous. 

A public information line regarding the fire was established at 909-383-5688.

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