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San Bernardino, Riverside Fight Brush Fires

Hundreds of firefighters endured temperatures in the 90s Sunday as they battled three brush fires raging in Riverside County and one in San Bernardino County, authorities said.

And another in a long series of aftershocks to last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake rippled through the desert town of Ridgecrest.

The 1:01 a.m. temblor registered magnitude 3.2 and was centered eight miles northeast of the community of 25,000. No damage was reported.

About 300 firefighters were gaining the upper hand Sunday on a 700-acre blaze near Lake Elsinore in Riverside County, said California Forestry Department spokeswoman Cassandra Thompson. The fire destroyed five homes and 13 vehicles and injured two people Saturday.

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The fire was about 50% contained on Sunday, and residents evacuated the day before were allowed to return home, Thompson said. Another forestry spokeswoman said the fire began when a lawn mower blade struck a rock, creating a spark that ignited the dry brush.

The largest fire brought more than 200 firefighters to the Bail Lake area of Riverside County, where gusty winds fanned the blaze to more than 1,000 acres. No buildings were threatened, Thompson said.

A fire that swept through the Deep Creek area of San Bernardino County was contained Sunday after burning 925 acres and probably will be controlled by today, said forestry spokesman Bill Peters.

One new fire of undetermined origin broke out Sunday, Thompson said. It scorched 200 acres in Reche Canyon, north of Moreno Valley.

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