Brush Fire Breaks Out in Redlands Amid SoCal Firestorms

Fire officials said the blaze showed how dry brush is in the region

A nearly 30-acre fire in Redlands temporarily shut lanes of the 10 Freeway amid fears of another large-scale blaze like several others that have hit Southern California this week.

The fire broke out Friday afternoon off the eastbound 10 Freeway at Wabash Avenue. The fire was first reported at 10 acres. It grew to 20 acres by 1 p.m.

Traffic was backed up for miles along the 10 Freeway while firefighters from several agencies attacked the blaze.

The fire broke out during a week when several large wildfires hit Southern California amid dry heat that hit near triple-digit temperatures.

Firefighters on scene said the Redlands blaze, dubbed the "Wabash Fire," was a good example of how dry conditions are in the Inland Empire this spring. That's in part because the blaze was not spread by strong winds, which had fanned the flames of the giant Summit Fire in Banning and the massive Springs Fire in Ventura County.

"You can have a vegetation and terrain-driven fire, which is what this was, that will move just as rapidly. And in the right situation, it will move almost like what we've seen driven by the wind earlier in the week," said CAL Fire spokesman Bill Peters.

The dry conditions make it easy for small heat sources to cause brush to ignite -- even something as small as a broken bottle acting as a magnifying glass, Peters said.

"It honestly could be anything that could reach the ignition temperature of the grass," Peters said.

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