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Fireworks believed to have ignited 3,200-acre brush fire in Riverside County

A fast-moving brush fire west of Beaumont in Riverside County that erupted Saturday afternoon has grown to 3,200 acres and forced some residents to evacuate their homes.

The Palmer fire started around 1:30 p.m. near San Timoteo Canyon Road and Fisherman’s Retreat. The fire is 10% contained, authorities said.

The blaze is believed to have been caused by fireworks in the area of Fisherman’s Retreat mobile home resort and campsite, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Authorities ordered mandatory evacuations for residents on Live Oak Canyon Road between Interstate 10 and San Timoteo Canyon Road, said April Newman, a spokeswoman with the Riverside County Fire Department.

“It’s burning at a rapid rate,” Newman said.

Roughly 450 people have been evacuated from more than 100 homes in that area, said Jody Hagemann, spokeswoman with Riverside County fire.

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“It’s fire season and the vegetation is tinder dry,” Hagemann said. “With all of our personnel we’ll be out there all night and tomorrow trying to get it contained.”

At 1:30 p.m. the fire was about 50 acres, burning at a moderate rate, according to Riverside fire officials. An hour later it had grown to 500 acres, and by 7:30 p.m., it had exploded to 3,000 acres, according to Cal Fire.

About 435 firefighters are battling the blaze and are being assisted by water-dropping aircraft, Newman said.

An evacuation center has been set up at Redlands Community Center, 111 W. Lugonia Ave. in Redlands.

Officials have closed Redlands Boulevard south of San Timoteo Canyon Road.

Redlands fire officials said voluntary evacuations are also in place for Outer Highway 10 from Live Oak Canyon Road to Alta Vista Drive; on Alta Vista Drive to Sunset Drive; and on Sunset Drive to Helen Court.

“Be prepared to evacuate if the Palmer Fire jumps Live Oak Canyon Road,” the Redlands Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

ben.poston@latimes.com

Follow @bposton on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

8:55 p.m.: This article was updated with new information about the cause of the fire.

7:50 p.m.: This article was updated with new information about the size of the fire and the number of evacuations.

This article was originally published at 5:50 p.m.


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