At least three people -- two firefighters and one civilian -- have been injured in the Silver fire, a fast-moving blaze that had consumed 6,000 acres in Riverside County by Wednesday night and was continuing to spread.
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 CalFire.
“Definitely a fast-moving fire,” Spelman said. “There was a situation where people did have to shelter in place.”
The fire began about 2 p.m. around Poppet Flats Road near Highway 243, south of Banning. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for the communities of Poppet Flats, Twin Pines and Silent Valley.
Later Wednesday evening, mandatory evacuations were added for the communities of Vista Grande and Mt. Edna, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. A large portion of Highway 243 was closed.
Evacuation centers were set up at Hemet High School and Beaumont High School.
CalFire reported “multiple structures involved” and television footage showed several homes and buildings ablaze. A tally of the number destroyed was not immediately available.
The blaze remained 0% contained Wednesday evening. Spelman said there were two heads to the fire: one pushing east and another pushing west.
The extent of the injuries to the three people were unclear. Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said the two injured firefighters were taken by ground transport for treatment and the one civilian was airlifted to a hospital.