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California

Fire prompts evacuations in Fullerton; pallet yard burns in South L.A.

A spate of fires broke out around Southern California on Wednesday, prompting periodic freeway closures and evacuations.

Shortly before 8 p.m., a brush fire erupted near Gilbert Street and Castlewood Drive in Fullerton, prompting the evacuation of homes in the area, the Fullerton Fire Department said in a Facebook post. Gilbert Street was closed between Rosecrans Avenue and Imperial Boulevard.

The fire has burned 8 acres and is contained to the northeast corner of Gilbert and Castlewood, the Fullerton Police Department said in an update issued at about 9:45 p.m. No homes are at risk of burning, police said, and residents who fled on foot were permitted to return starting about 10:30 p.m.

Streets evacuated included the 1700 block of Deerwood Drive, the 2100 block of Dalewood Avenue, the 1700 block of Summerwood Drive, the 2200 block of Ardemore Drive, the 2200 block of Pickwick Place, the 1700 block of Berkshire Drive, and all of Brooke, Chantilly, Somerset and Walker lanes. The streets remain closed to vehicular traffic as firefighters work to ensure the blaze is extinguished.

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The Fullerton Community Center at 340 W. Commonwealth Ave. is serving as an evacuation center.

Crews were also battling a large pallet-yard fire in South Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

Firefighters were called to the blaze in the 9400 block of South Alameda Street about 8:15 p.m. and quickly called a second alarm, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

By 10 p.m., the fire had spread to about half a city block, but firefighters had managed to hold it within the pallet yard. No injuries were reported.

In most cases, firefighters managed to quickly beat back the fires. The 60 and 57 freeways fully reopened late Wednesday afternoon after crews contained fires in Jurupa Valley and Brea Canyon.

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The largest blaze, the Hill fire, erupted about 10 a.m. in Jurupa Valley in Riverside County near the intersection of Granite Hill Drive and Pyrite Street. By late afternoon, it had expanded to 200 acres before firefighters stopped its spread.

The Hill fire prompted evacuation orders throughout most of the day at two nearby mobile home parks and neighborhoods. The orders were lifted by 7 p.m.

One civilian with minor injuries was taken to a local hospital, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in Riverside said. One mobile home and one residential structure were damaged.

About 30 acres burned in the Santa Clarita area near Soledad Canyon before firefighters stopped the fire’s progress. The brush fire caused no structural damage. Two right northbound lanes on the 14 Freeway were closed but expected to reopen about 7 p.m.

The Brea fire in eastern Los Angeles County, at Brea Canyon Road, was fully contained and stopped at 16 acres, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. All lanes of the 57 Freeway were open by late afternoon.

KTLA-TV Channel 5 news video showed the area covered in smoke during the height of the fire. Several evacuees from a nearby nursing home sat in wheelchairs covered in blankets as the fire continued to rage in the distance.

Earlier in Fullerton, a brush fire started about 3:30 p.m. in the Brea Dam area, causing the closure of Harbor Boulevard in both directions from Brea Boulevard to Bastanchury Road. By about 5 p.m., Fullerton police reported that the fire was under control and crews were mopping up. Southbound lanes on Harbor Boulevard reopened but northbound lanes remained closed.

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In Riverside, the Dexter fire broke out about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday in the area of Indian Hill Road and Ladera Lane and burned along the Santa Ana River bottom, according to Riverside fire Capt. Brian Guzzetta. The fire charred at least 30 acres and wind-borne embers threatened nearby homes, prompting mandatory evacuations in an adjacent neighborhood. By 3:45 p.m., evacuations were lifted, but only residents were being allowed into the neighborhoods.

No injuries or structural damage were reported.

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Elsewhere in Riverside County, the Water fire was reported in the 26000 block of Water Avenue in Riverside shortly after 7 a.m., and has now been fully contained after burning 5 acres, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. Three outbuildings and two vehicles were destroyed. About 120 firefighters were dispatched to fight the blaze amid wind gusts up to 60 mph. All evacuations related to the Water fire have been lifted.

In Los Angeles County, a fire broke out in Long Beach on the shoulder of the eastbound 91 Freeway at 3:48 p.m. and damaged one home and a window and outdoor furniture at two others on the 200 block of East 65th Street, said Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Jake Heflin. The fire was contained at 5:11 p.m. and no injuries were reported.

Investigators believe a downed power line caused the fire, Heflin said.

In the Calabasas community of Hidden Hills, a fire threatened homes before it was brought under control roughly 30 minutes after igniting. The fire was contained at roughly 10 acres as crews continued to extinguish hot spots around the area. An evacuation warning was canceled, though residents were encouraged to remain vigilant.

Firefighters also quickly contained a small brush fire that broke out and ignited about 5 acres in the Whittier Narrows recreation area in El Monte.


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