California wildfires: Blaze south of Banning grows to 650 acres

A 300-acre fire has broken out in the San Jacinto Mountains south of Banning. No structures were immediately threatened.
(Google Maps)

A wildfire in steep forestland in the San Jacinto Mountains has quickly doubled in size to 650 acres.

The blaze, named the Gorgonio fire, is in Riverside County south of Banning, a town of 30,000 in the mountain pass between Riverside and Palm Springs. The blaze was not threatening any structures, and no evacuations have been ordered, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

About 400 firefighters and two helicopters were assigned to the blaze.

MAP: Southern California fires


The blaze forced the closure of California 243, a state route that winds through the San Jacinto Mountains and connects Banning with Idyllwild in the San Bernardino National Forest. The route was closed between Wesley Street in Banning and at Poppet Flats Road in the mountains.

The fire was reported at 11:43 a.m. and grew to 300 acres by 2 p.m., and estimated at 650 acres by 3 p.m. It was 0% surrounded, and was being pushed to the east by 15-to-20-mph gusts, according to firefighters.

The temperatures were in the 80s, and the relative humidity was 8%.

The new blaze occurred near a different wildfire -- the Summit fire -- that began north of Banning on Wednesday. One home was destroyed in that 3,200-acre fire, and two firefighters were injured. That fire was 85% contained as of Saturday morning.


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Twitter: @ronlin