Fast-Moving Sandalwood Brush Fire Destroys Homes In A Riverside County Community
An explosive brush fire Thursday near the 10 Freeway in Riverside County prompted mandatory evacuations and destroyed 74 structures, including homes at a mobile home park in Calimesa.
At 8:00 P.M., Cal Fire Riverside officials said the fire remained at 500 acres and was 10% contained. In addition to structured destroyed by the fire, officials said another five structures suffered moderate damaga and 11 had minor damage.
The fire sparked in Calimesa, a community about 9 miles east of Redlands.
The Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park, close to where the fire began, suffered heavy damage. Firefighters said several people had medical emergencies and the flames also posed a threat to the power grid.
The fire was first reported shortly before 2 p.m. on Sandalwood Drive near the 10 Freeway, according to Cal Fire Riverside. The so-called Sandalwood fire grew rapidly in the first two hours, with no containment at first.
According to the Riverside County Fire Department, the fire was sparked by a trash truck that "dumped a load of burning trash that spread into vegetation."
An evacuation center initially was set up at a Calimesa Senior Center but was later moved by Red Cross officials to Mesa Grande Academy at 975 Fremont St. in Calimesa. Officials said transportation was provided to the new location when the senior center location was closed down at 7:30 p.m.
Large and small animals may be taken to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus at 581 S. Grand Ave. in San Jacinto.
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For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:
- Redland Fire Department via Twitter (lead agency)
- Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department incident page (for latest information)
- Cal Fire Riverside Twitter
- Riverside County Sheriff's Department Twitter
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8:15 p.m.: This article was updated with the latest information about the fire containment and the move to a new shelter location.
7:10 p.m.: This article was updated with information the possible cause of the fire.
This article was originally published at 5:46 p.m.
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