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Climate and Environment

Deadly Fairview Fire Burning In Hemet Holds At 28K Acres; All Evacuations Are Lifted

Two firefighters hold a hose from a fire engine behind them, spraying water on flames burning through dried brush.
The Fairview Fire has burned more than 28,000 acres so far.
(Courtesy Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department
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via Twitter)
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Firefighters working the Fairview Fire near Hemet continued to make steady progress this week, benefitting from higher humidity and some rain. Officials now say full containment is expected by Friday, Sept. 17.

Authorities said they no longer expect and fire growth and all evacuation orders were lifted Wednesday.

The wildfire broke Sept. 5 and spread rapidly, killing two people and injuring a third in its early stages. On Saturday, three people aboard a helicopter assisting in fire operations were injured when the privately-owned chopper crashed.

The Basics

  • Acreage: 28,307
  • Containment: 69%
  • Deaths: 2
  • Injuries: 4
  • Structures destroyed: 17 (4 additional damaged)
  • Structures threatened: 2,462
  • Cause: Under investigation

Map Of Fire

Origins: The fire began shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Monday at Bautista Rd. and Fairview Ave. south of Hemet

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What We Know So Far

When the fire broke out Monday, wind pushed the fire west, which fire officials noted as the opposite direction they'd expect for this time of year. That took it to Avery Canyon, where it rapidly spread. Officials said it appeared that civilians in that canyon attempted to flee, but were overcome by the fire.

The remains of two victims were found in a vehicle in the burn zone on Avery Canyon Road. Officials said those victims have not yet been identified.

A third person, who officials have identified only as an adult female, was also severely burned but is expected to survive. Officials said it appears all three victims were from the same family.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. According to a document filed by Southern California Edison, the utility company is trying to determine if its electrical equipment may have sparked the blaze.

"Our information reflects circuit activity occurred close in time to the report time of the fire," the document states. "The investigation is ongoing."

Evacuation Orders

Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate after a series of orders and warnings from emergency officials. By Wednesday, Sept. 14, those orders were lifted. Here's at the areas that had been under mandatory evacuations are in place (in red), along with warning zones (in yellow). Red Xs mark road closures.

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Hemet Unified School District campuses reopened Monday after being closed for a couple of days the previous week.

Evacuation Centers

  • Tahquitz High School — 4425 Titan Trail (officials said small animals are welcome)
  • Temecula Community Center — 30875 Rancho Vista Road
  • A small animal care center has been established at 601 S State St. in San Jacinto
  • A large animal center is available at Riverside County Animal Shelter, at 438 S. State Street in San Jacinto

Where To Look For The Latest Information

More Resources

What questions do you have about the fires burning in Southern California?