Evacuations Paused After Major Fire

Homes in Menifee, California were threatened by a 50-acre brush fire that ripped through an open area west of Interstate 215 last Tuesday, prompting authorities to evacuate nearby residents, CBS News reported.

While the blaze caused no injuries, Cal Fire sent multiple truck and engine crews from the Riverside County Fire Department and other nearby agencies to the location near Garbani and Haun Roads to ward off the flames heading toward properties on Garbani Rd while a Cal Fire aircraft dumped flame retardant material on the flames from above.

According to officials, as a precaution, an evacuation order was in place for residents in the affected areas while Manifee police were called to close Bradley and Wickerd Roads.

Within 90 minutes, the drops from the Cal Fire aircraft managed to close off the brushfire’s path to the residences to the west while crews on the ground were able to establish containment lines along the north and south using the surrounding roads.

By Wednesday morning, Cal Fire announced that the blaze was 90 percent contained and those evacuated from their homes could return. Firefighters remained on the scene extinguishing the remaining hot spots.

By 2:00 pm on Wednesday, the fire was 100 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

It was not clear what caused the fire.

Just days before, Southern California fire officials urged residents to clear back the brush on their properties to minimize the risk of sparking a major brush fire, KABC reported.

The unusually wet winter in Southern California produced a great deal of vegetation which, now that it is drying out in the hotter temperatures, could provide ample fuel for brush fires.

According to Cal Fire’s Southern Region Chief David Fulcher, all of that dried brush is ideal for “quick ignitions” and “rapid starts,” so if a fire takes hold, “it can spread fast.”

In May, Los Angeles County launched a brush-clearing effort that included increasing residential brush inspections and citing residents who have failed to clear their property, according to LA County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone.