Falls Fire: Evacuations lifted; 4 firefighters injured (updated)

Flames from the Falls Fire in Riverside rise above a mountain on Aug. 5, 2013.
Flames from the Falls Fire in Riverside rise above a mountain on Aug. 5, 2013.
NBC4/Jacob Rascon

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Update 6:39 p.m.: Evacuations lifted, 74 open

Evacuations have been lifted for the communities of Decker Canyon and Lakeland Village, according to Cal Fire. 

The agency says residents returning home along Highway 74 will be able to do so only with an escort by California Highway Patrol. 

Update 6:09 p.m.: Firefighters make progress against Falls Fire near Lake Elsinore

More than a thousand firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in the Cleveland National Forest near Lake Elsinore.

The Falls Fire has burned around 1,400 acres since it started Monday. It's still 20 percent contained. 

Fire spokesman Marc Peebles says crews have made some progress — but there's still a lot of work ahead. 

"They've been mopping up hot spots," Peebles said. "They've been constructing hand-lines, improving existing hand-line that was put in last night. It's been very warm this afternoon. They've been working in very steep, rugged terrain with a lot of heavy fuels."

Peebles said crews will continue work on increasing containment lines overnight.

Evacuations remain in effect for the Decker Canyon community.

— Bianca Ramirez

Update 10:55 a.m.: 4 firefighters sustained minor injuries

Four firefighters have been hurt and two outbuildings damaged so far in a wildfire that took off yesterday in the Cleveland National Forest near Lake Elsinore.

The firefighters received only minor heat-related injuries and were treated and released.

The Falls fire has burned 1,416 acres so far and is 20 percent contained.

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Vickie Wright said air and ground crews are making progress surrounding the fire.

"They're trying to establish some pretty strong fire lines. We do have winds that will be starting up. Lake Elsinore is famous for these thermals that come in in the late afternoon so we're trying to get a head start," Wright said.

Full containment was estimated for Friday.

9:00 a.m.: A brush fire in the Cleveland National Forest near Lake Elsinore has spread to more than 1,400 acres and is threatening some homes.

The Falls fire has forced the closure of a highway connecting Riverside and Orange counties. 

STATS, CLOSURES, UPDATES: For full details, visit our Fire Tracker

The U.S. Forest Service says the wildfire started in the Decker Canyon area Monday, forcing a mandatory evacuation order for 50 homes.

A few hours later, fire officials ordered people in the Rancho Capistrano neighborhood to leave. 

An earlier evacuation for Lakeland Village was lifted. Evacuations are still in effect for Decker Canyon. 

Crews have the fire 20 percent contained.

The fire was first reported about five miles west of Lake Elsinore and just south of 74 Highway.

Flames have reached Ortega Highway, forcing the California Highway Patrol to shut down the route from Lake Elsinore west to Antonio Parkway, just outside San Juan Capistrano.

The Forest Service, Riverside County Fire Department and Cal Fire crews are working the fire.