Jurupa Valley, has a close call
The blaze quickly spread after breaking out, Thursday afternoon, along the Santa Ana River bottom, between Riverside and an unincorporated part of the county, fire officials said. Fire fighters were busy Friday morning, trying to fully contain a brush fire that burned dangerously close to homes in Jurupa Valley.
The 200-acre blaze is now 30 percent contained, fire officials said early Friday. The heavy brush in Riverside County on Thursday, amid unseasonably warm weather, pushed residents to evacuate their neighborhoods, as flames up to 30 feet high-consumed palm trees and thick patches of brush, along a jagged half-mile front, as fire-fighters sprayed water on rooftops and residents used garden hoses to douse the embers in their yards.
Fire-fighters, worked through the night, keeping an eye on hot spots to prevent flare-ups. The assignment for Friday, included 20 engines, one dozer, one helicopter, eight fire crews and eight overhead, Cal Fire said.
A spokeswoman said power lines are down in the area, at the south end of the park, where the fire was reported. The fire went from 10 acres to 50 in about an hour.
The fire was reported about 4:30 p.m. Thursday near Rio Road and Calle Hermosa at the south end of Rancho Jurupa Park, fire officials said. About 200 fire-fighters battled the flames, aided by water-dropping helicopters.
Earlier on Thursday, the temperature at the nearby Riverside Municipal Airport, hit 80 degrees and light Santa Ana winds, fanned the flames. By Thursday night, the winds had calmed. Fire officials said that provided the ground crews an opportunity to beat back flames that came perilously close to homes. “Once the winds calm down, it allows us to get in there and do an aggressive attack,” Capt. Lucas Spellman, of the Riverside County Fire Department said.
As fire crews swarmed hot spots, a mobile home about a quarter of a mile from the brush fire began burning and ignited a propane tank that exploded into flames. Fire officials were investigating whether flying embers from a nearby mobile home ignited the blaze. Residents armed with fire hoses, jumped into action and put out the propane tanks that had caught fire.
“The top tank blew, which ignited the house. The second tank blew, that’s when the fire department told me to get out of the way,” resident, Elmer Garlock, said. “But I kept watering the house,” he said. “The homeowner’s son, was at the back of the house as I was in the front yard watering the front side.”
Jack Dalman, a retired Riverside County sheriff, who lives in the neighborhood, was urged to evacuate, but the retired deputy wasn’t leaving.
“We’ve been through this before,” said Dalman, who patrolled his backyard in short pants and sandals. “I don’t worry.”
Jim Ingraham, 77, saw a bank of palm trees explode into a bright orange ball of flames. But he said he wasn’t alarmed, as he watched a bulldozer cut a fire line along the perimeter of the blaze. The mobile home was a complete loss, but no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze.
The National Weather Service has issued a ‘wind advisory’ for gusty offshore winds, in the Riverside County valleys, which may fan the flames. The advisory is in effect until 2 p.m. Saturday. According to AP