RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A wind and vegetation-driven brush fire that has blackened 175 acres along the Santa Ana River bottom in Riverside County is 20 percent contained as of 11:30 p.m. Thursday.
The massive fire started around 4:45 p.m. at Rancho Jurupa Regional Park in Jurupa Valley before it spread into the city of Riverside.
About 200 firefighters and 14 engines from several agencies, along with three water-dropping helicopters, assisted in the effort to extinguish the blaze, which continued to rage early Friday, said Capt. Lucas Spellman of Cal Fire.
No structures were threatened and there were no reports of any injuries, according to Battalion Chief Mitch Wesche of the Riverside City Fire Department.
The fire, however, burned extremely close to Riverside homes.
In addition, more than 1,800 people were without power, but it’s unknown if the outage was due to the blaze.
Residents watched from their living rooms as embers from the flames landed on palm trees and on to homes.
“There was brush fire all over. It was scary. I’m still not sure if I’m going to keep my house,” said homeowner Gabriela Zepeda.
An RV caught fire about a quarter-mile away from the main blaze around 8:30 p.m. Fire officials wouldn’t confirm if embers caused the vehicle to erupt.
Officials called for voluntary evacuations for residents in the area of Grassy Trail Drive and Rio Rancho Way.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for homes near Greenbrier Drive and Grassy Trail until 9:45 p.m.
An evacuation center was set up at Nichols Park located at 5505 Dewey Avenue, but no one appeared to have sought shelter there.
KCAL9’s Stacey Butler reported that many families decided to ignore the orders.
Downed power lines reportedly caused the blaze, but officials were unable to confirm that information.