The fast-moving Silver fire in Riverside County grew significantly in size to roughly 2,500 acres, forcing evacuations and the closure of Highway 243 near Banning.
Footage from news helicopters showed several structures on fire in the communities of Poppet Flats, Twin Pines and Silent Valley, where authorities had issued mandatory evacuation orders within the last hour.
CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant said incident commanders had a “significant number of fire engines that are assigned to structure defense.”
No injuries had been immediately reported.
The fire was reported shortly after 2 p.m. and had consumed 300 acres by 4 p.m.
An evacuation center has been opened at Hemet High School, 41701 E Stetson Ave., in Hemet.
Nearly 500 firefighters were battling the blaze, as were four air tankers, five helicopters and two bulldozers, according to a CalFire spokesman.