The Highland Fire in Aguanga in Riverside County is at nearly 2,500 acres and while thousands have evacuated the area, fire officials have made headway with 15% containment as of Wednesday morning.
Seven structures have been destroyed while six have been damaged, and only one firefighter injury has been reported, according to fire officials. Wednesday morning, CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department projected full containment of the fire in one week, by Nov. 8.
The fire broke out Monday afternoon in the area of Highlands Road and Aguanga Ranchos Road, near the junction for Highways 79 and 371. Officials say the fast-moving flames are being fueled by strong Santa Ana winds and dry conditions, causing the fire to quickly grow.
As of Tuesday at around 6:45 p.m., officials at the scene reported that the fire had grown to 2,487 acres.
“We really need these breaks in the weather to really make a hard stand and put these fires to bed,” Cal Fire Capt. Thomas Shoots said.
Around 1,300 homes and 4,000 residents were ordered to evacuate on Monday, according to Jeff LaRusso with the Riverside County Fire Department.
“I actually drove through the flames to get up the hill and out, and that’s when I evacuated, pulled the horses and everything out…,” said Aguanga resident Craig Maciver, who evacuated the area Monday evening and has since returned.
Evacuation orders, as of Nov.1, remain in place for the area surrounding:
- South of Sage Road/Golden Eagle Drive
- East of Becker Lane
- West of Boulder Vista
- North of Cottonwood Creek
- South of Highway 371
- West of Sorenson Road
- North of San Diego County Road
- East of Vail Lake Resort
- West of Shirley Way
- North of David Street
- South of Pueblo Road/Exa Ely Road
- North of San Diego County line
- South of Highway 79
- East of Forest Route 8S07
- West of Crosley Truck Trail
Wednesday afternoon, some evacuation orders were downgraded to warnings for residents living:
- North of Cottonwood School Road
- East of Becker Lane
- South of Wilson Valley Road
- West of Wildwood Lane
Evacuation warnings were also in place for the area surrounding:
- West of Cahuilla Tribal Reservation Boundary
- North of County Line Road
- North of Cleveland National Forest
- South of Watts Road, Esplendida Way, Avenida Bravura
- East of Pauba Road, De Portola Road
- West of Round Top Canyon Road
A number of agencies are fighting the fire, including Corona, Hemet and Murrieta fire departments, as well as the U.S. Forest Service.
A care and reception center has been set up at Great Oak High School, located at 32555 Deer Hollow Way in Temecula, for anyone impacted by the fire. They can take any large animals to the San Jacinto Animal Shelter for care.
Another large vegetation fire, located within Camp Pendleton, could be seen for miles around as large plumes of smoke billowed over the area.
“Smoke may be visible, but there is currently no threat to personnel or structures,” Camp Pendleton officials said on X.
The fire was said to be burning in the camp’s “Whiskey Impact Area,” where they traditionally fire live mortars as training exercises.
Source : CBS