Environment & Science

Fast-moving Riverside County fire leads to mandatory evacuations

Courtesy Cal Fire Riverside

Firefighters in Riverside County are battling a fast-moving brush fire in the Cherry Valley area that has burned hundreds of acres and forced the evacuations of residential areas.

Approximately 700 people have been displaced, the Riverside County Fire Department reported. About 400 homes were under mandatory evacuation, fire spokesperson Liz Brown told KPCC. Containment remained low.

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The fire, which began about 12:25 p.m. at Bogart Park near Winesap Avenue and International Park Road, has forced the evacuation of about half of residents at the Highland Spring Village mobile home park and of residents in the Banning Bench area near Banning, Brown said. There were about 200 homes affected in each of the two areas.

"The fire is actually burning away from the homes," Brown said. She noted that the area receives an offshore wind which was responsible for the direction of the fire.

"We're going to be here all night. We're going to continue to put in containment lines. You know, as we know, we're in store for some hot weather the next few days, so we're not sure if we're going to get the humidity recovery in the evening, which complicate things during the next day," Brown said.

An evacuation center was set up at the Albert A. Chatigny Senior Community Center at 1310 Oak Valley Parkway in Beaumont. There were about two dozen people at the center as of around 5 p.m., according to Brown.

The 400-acre Bogart Park is located about five miles north of Beaumont at the northern end of Cherry Valley. It has "shady oak forests, luscious green meadows, a picturesque pond, and amazing mountain views," according to the Riverside County Parks website.

Firefighters from the Riverside County Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection from San Bernardino were on the scene of the fire.

Two firefighters were transported to local hospitals for minor injuries, Brown said.

The Bogart Fire near Cherry Valley in Riverside County has burned through hundreds of acres, threatening residences.
The Bogart Fire near Cherry Valley in Riverside County has burned through hundreds of acres, threatening residences.

"We called in a significant amount of air resources that helped slow the fire down, and as those ground resources came in, they've been able to make some progress," Brown said.

The cause of the fire has not been reported.