A wildfire in the Cherry Valley area of Riverside County remained 0% contained on Saturday afternoon after exploding to 12,000 acres and prompting mandatory evacuation orders, officials said.
At least one home and two outbuildings were destroyed by the Apple Fire, which began shortly before 5 p.m. Friday near Oak Glen Road and Apple Tree Lane. No injuries have been reported.
Responding firefighters in the air and on the ground attacked the flames in an effort to protect homes that were threatened, performing water drops from helicopters and establishing fire lines.
Steep and rugged terrain made it difficult for crews on the ground to access the front lines. High temperatures and low humidity levels fueled the flames, which were scorching the brush that hadn’t burned in years.
“Lots of oils in, so when it’s going up these canyons, it’s creating all that heat because of those oils and those fuels,” said Cal Fire Capt. Richard Cordova. And what you’ll see is these big plumes of smoke going up, especially the darker (ones), and once it gets into the atmosphere, it’ll start creating its own weather.”
An evacuation order was issued for the area north of Cherry Valley Boulevard, west of Highland Springs Avenue and east of Beaumont Avenue. An evacuation center was established at Beaumont High School, located at 39139 Cherry Valley Blvd. in Beaumont.
The evacuation orders were then expanded for homes north of Wilson Street, east of Sunset Avenue and west of Hathaway Street. The Oak Glen community in San Bernardino County was also placed under an evacuation order.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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