Evacuations ordered as Riverside County brush fire grows

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Some residents near a brush fire in Riverside County were being evacuated Thursday night as flames burned close to homes and had consumed up to 75 acres, officials said.

The fire was burning in Jurupa Valley in heavy brush straddling unincorporated county area and the city of Riverside. Evacuations were ordered for residents living on Greenbrier Drive and Rio Rancho Way in Riverside, fire officials said.


It was unclear how many residents were affected by the order.

About 200 firefighters were battling the blaze, which broke out about 4:30 p.m. and quickly grew from an initial 10 acres amid unseasonable warm weather and dry winds, the Riverside County Fire Department said.

Crews on the ground were being assisted by at least one water-dropping helicopter, the Riverside County Fire Department said. The blaze was about 20% contained.

Power lines were down in the area, but it was not clear whether downed lines sparked the fire.

Television footage showed flames burning in the darkness as they consumed palm trees. A thick plume of smoke was visible for miles.

The fire broke out as a Santa Ana wind condition warmed up Southern California. Temperatures in Riverside County were in the low 80s Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.


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-- Robert J. Lopez