Valley News -

Blaze erupts in Santa Ana Riverbottom in Riverside


Last updated 12/21/2017 at Noon

A wildfire that broke out today in the Santa Ana River bottom near downtown Riverside quickly spread to residential areas, spawning spot fires amid high winds, damaging at least one property and

threatening many more.

The blaze was reported about 11:10 a.m. on the perimeter of a Boy Scout camp, in the area of Mission Boulevard and Indian Hill Road.

According to the Riverside Fire Department, flames quickly spread into deep brush along the dry river bottom, propelled southward by 30 mph winds. As of 1 p.m., 45 acres had burned.

Evacuations were ordered for residents along Arfon Way, Glenwood Drive, Indian Hill, Ladera Lane, Loring Drive, Mount Rubidoux Drive, Redwood Drive and several other side streets abutting Mount Rubidoux Park.

A temporary evacuation center was established at the Dale Senior Center at 3936 Chestnut St, next to White Park. Some displaced residents were also directed to Bonaminio Park on Tequesquite Avenue, where fire crews were staging.

A property on Redwood was damaged by flames, but the extent of the loss was not immediately known.

California Highway Patrol officers watching from the Pomona (60) Freeway went onto Indian Hill during the first minutes of the blaze to help evacuate several properties.

The backyard of a home in the 4600 block of Ninth caught fire, but crews deployed to provide structure protection and kept the flames at bay.

Embers hurled skyward by the intense Santa Ana winds lit on palm trees along Arfon, Glenwood, Mount Rubidoux, Mission Inn, Pine Street and Redwood, sparking isolated fires with which individual engine crews had to contend.

A woman residing in the 4000 block of Redwood, just off of Glenwood, crawled onto the roof of her home in an apparent attempt to douse embers and fell, according to reports from the scene. She was taken to Riverside Community Hospital for treatment of a possible broken leg.

Engine and truck companies from Riverside County, Cal Fire, Corona, the March Air Reserve Base and other agencies poured into the city to assist with battling the wind-whipped brusher which broke out amid a National Weather Service-issued Red Flag warning in effect through 6 tonight due to strong gusty winds coupled with low humidity.

Several Cal Fire water-dropping helicopters and air tankers were making runs on the blaze, on the north side of Mount Rubidoux, in the vicinity of Carlson Dog Park. The choppers were using nearby Lake Evans to take on water.

There was no immediate word on how the brusher started. The river bottom is dotted with homeless encampments, and fires have broken out in the past because of camp fires that got out of control.


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