IDYLLWILD (CBSLA.com) — A brush fire burning in the Riverside County mountains has grown to 9,000 acres and was 10 percent contained Tuesday.
“It’s a significant fire burning through an area that we have not seen a lot of fire activity,” Julie Hutchinson, Cal Fire Battalion Chief, told KNX 1070.
The Mountain Fire, which broke out around 1:45 p.m. Monday, has forced the mandatory evacuations of 20 homes, as well as the Living Free Animal Sanctuary, the Riverside County Fire Department said.
Evacuations are in place for residents in Fleming Ranch, Bonita Vista and Pine Springs Ranch.
Three residences and three mobile homes have been destroyed and one residence damaged, according to the U.S. Forest Service. A commercial building and four to six vehicles were also among the property destroyed.
KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports that one Lake Hemet resident Lawrence Goda lost the home he built 30 years ago.
“First it was just a plume of smoke,” said Goda’s partner, Diana Amor. “The next thing I know I could see full blown flames coming up off the ridge and coming towards me.”
The couple said they lost everything except some clothing and the few items they could fit in their car.
“That was my retirement,” said Goda. “I always said when I turned 62 I’d use that as my retirement, and I just turned 62 last month.”
Structures have been destroyed and several others damaged in the Pine Springs Ranch area in Apple Canyon, officials said. Authorities will assess and determine the extent of property damage and loss Tuesday.
The American Red Cross has established evacuation centers at Hemet High School, 41701 E. Stetson Avenue, and Hamilton High School, located at 57430 Mitchell Road in Anza.
An animal evacuation site has been set up at San Jacinto Animal Shelter, 581 S. Grand Avenue, officials said.
Authorities have closed Highway 243, between Founders Meadow and State Route 74 at Mountain Center. The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Route 74 to Saddle Junction. All connector trails to the PCT are also closed in that area. Route 74 remains opens, officials said.
An estimated 2,241 personnel were working to fight the blaze, together with six helicopters, ten air tankers, seven water tenders and six bulldozers.
Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.