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California

Riverside County firefighters contain one brush fire while making significant progress on larger blaze

A 250-acre brush fire in Riverside was fully contained Sunday, while authorities made significant progress on another larger fire burning in the southwest corner of the county that had forced hundreds of residents from their homes.

The so-called Sycamore Canyon fire, which erupted a day earlier, was 100% contained with the crucial help of three fire retardant-dropping air tankers, fire officials said. Several crews are continuing to monitor hot spots.

“We hope to have it wrapped up tonight, right after sundown,” said Battalion Chief Bruce Vanderhorst of the Riverside Fire Department.

There were no evacuations and no injuries or damage to structures was reported, he said.

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Meanwhile, the Tenaja fire continued to burn in the southwest corner of Riverside County but was 56% contained by Sunday afternoon, said Scott McLean, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fire began Wednesday, scorched more than 1,900 acres and forced the exodus of hundreds of residents in the hillsides near Murrieta.

But cooler temperatures and slower winds gave fire crews the upper hand Sunday, McLean said.

In Northern California, the Red Bank fire that spread across more than 8,800 acres in rural Tehama County is now at 20% containment, McLean said. Temperatures dipping into the 80s on Sunday “were a welcome relief and there was much less wind,” he said. “We need cooperation to make progress.”

Officials said the blaze in an area mainly used for cattle ranching was caused by lightning. The fire also led to multiple road closures and evacuations when it ignited Thursday afternoon, burning through brush and oak woodlands.

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As crews continue their work, McLean said they’re focused on not “just putting the water on the fire, but fire suppression such as erosion control as well — making sure the footprint that we cause, we help to clear.”

Historically, September and October are the worst months for wildfires in California, he cited, warning residents to stay vigilant, learning how to protect themselves by studying tips on Cal Fire’s Ready for Wildfire website.

“We have an average of 250 wildfires a week, usually they’re 10 acres or less,” he said. “And without knowing it, people can just start a fire. It could be they’re mowing, hitting a rock with a blade and causing a spark. It’s just an accident, but we need to be aware of these things so everyone can stay safer.”


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