The fast-moving Silver fire that has scorched more than 6,000 acres, injured three people and forced hundreds of evacuations in Riverside County on Wednesday continued to rage east toward the desert as officials prepared to assess the early-morning landscape.
Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said that as of early Thursday morning, the fire was 0% contained and had destroyed or damaged 15 structures near Banning, although it was not immediately clear how many of those were homes.
Of the people injured, two were firefighters, the other a civilian who was airlifted to a hospital. The extent of their injuries could not immediately be determined.
The fire began about 2 p.m. around Poppet Flats Road near Highway 243, south of Banning.
The fire spread so quickly that some residents were told to “shelter in place” earlier in the day until they could safely evacuate, said Capt. Lucas Spelman of Cal Fire.
The blaze was driven by winds out of the west overnight, Berlant said early Thursday. “The wind has been very steady ... all night and into the early morning,” he said.
About 600 homes remained threatened within mandatory evacuation zones that were expanded to include Peach Street, Plum Street and Eucalyptus Street, as well as Riza Avenue, Ida Avenue and Helen Avenue east to Elm Street.
Mandatory evacuation orders remained in place for the communities of Poppet Flats, Twin Pines and Silent Valley.
Evacuation centers were set up at Hemet High School and Beaumont High School. An emergency animal shelter was opened at San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus.