Containment of a brush fire that erupted just north of San Jacinto swept over hillsides, scorching 348 acres, threatening homes and agricultural operations and prompting evacuations, rose to 93% Wednesday.
The non-injury blaze was reported just after 2 p.m. Monday in the Ramona Expressway and North Warren Road area, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. It was 80% contained as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the department reported.
Multiple engine and hand crews were sent to the location and encountered flames burning along barren hillsides, propelled by southwesterly winds.
Several Cal Fire air tankers and water-dropping helicopters from the nearby Hemet-Ryan Airport made runs on the fire through the afternoon.
As the flames moved west, they approached a residential area abutted by dairy farms, leading fire personnel to implement mandatory evacuations in the neighborhood bounded by Cottonwood Avenue to the south, Upperline Avenue to the north, Beech Street to the west and Warren Road to the east.
At 5:45 p.m. Monday, flames were within 100 feet of houses on Upperline Avenue and Cal Fire air tankers were summoned to drop retardant and strengthen defensive lines, according to reports from the scene.
An evacuation warning was issued to residents and agricultural operators within the area bounded by Cottonwood to the south, Esplanade Avenue to the north, Beech Street to the west and Warren Road to the east.
Those evacuation orders were lifted at 8:30 p.m. Monday and residents were permitted to return to their homes, according to the fire department.
Warren Road reopened between the Ramona Expressway and Esplanade Avenue.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
On Tuesday in Homeland, a spot fire that was allegedly intentionally ignited by a man pouring fuel on vegetation was quickly knocked down, and the suspect was taken into custody.
The noninjury blaze was reported just after 1 p.m. in the area of Echo Valley and Ranch roads, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The agency said multiple engine crews were sent to the location, which is less than a mile north of Highway 74, and encountered flames burning in brush covering a roughly 1,000 square foot space.
A man carrying a fuel can was allegedly splashing the vegetation with petrol, according to officials at the scene.
Sheriff’s deputies were summoned and arrested the suspect, whose identity was not released, without incident minutes later.
Cal Fire arson investigators were also summoned to assist with the investigation.
The blaze was knocked down within 20 minutes.