BANNING (CBSLA.com) — A fast-moving wildfire south of Banning in Riverside County burned an estimated 6,000 acres Wednesday afternoon and into the evening, according to fire officials.
The Silver Fire was reported around 2:05 p.m. on Poppet Flats Road south, according to Riverside County Fire Department. It was 0% contained as of 9:45 p.m.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the communities of Poppet Flats, Twin Pines, Silent Valley, Vista Grande and Mt. Edna.
Highway 243 has also been closed between Banning and Azalea Trail in Poppet Flats.
CAL FIRE spokesman Capt. Lucas Spelman told KCAL9 several homes in the area are under threat. At least 12 structures, including several homes, have been reported damaged or destroyed in the Twin Pines area.
“There are a lot of homes up there… people like to get away in these areas,” he said.
“We have more equipment coming on the scene every 10 minutes or so and we’re just trying to stop the spread of this fire.”
The American Red Cross has opened evacuation centers at the following locations:
- Hemet High School, 41701 East Stetson Avenue
- Beaumont High School, 39139 Cherry Valley Boulevard
- Animal Evacuation: San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, 581 South Grand Avenue
More than 450 firefighters, 71 engine companies, 5 helicopters and 4 air tankers have been assigned to the scene, according to RCFD. Two firefighters and one civilian have been injured. One of the firefighters was transported via ground ambulance. The two others were airlifted from the scene. The extent of their injuries remains unknown.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Rich Fields reports wind speed has picked up through the evening, with gusts reaching 30 miles per hour in the Banning and Riverside areas.
The conditions are causing a problem for firefighters, kicking up flames into the late evening.
Riverside County Fire is working with several other agencies to tackle the blaze, including the Bureau of Land Management, CAL FIRE/Riverside, California Highway Patrol – Indio, March ARB, Morongo Fire Department, Riverside County Fire Office Of Emergency Services, Riverside County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Forest Service – San Bernardino.
It remains unclear what started the fire.