A fast-moving wildfire fueled by Santa Ana winds in Riverside County grew to 2,200 acres by Tuesday morning with no containment, officials said.
The Highland Fire has already consumed three structures, damaged another six and prompted the evacuation of some 4,000 residents in the area since Monday afternoon.
The fire began at Highlands and Aguanga Ranchos roads in the small town of Aguanga, was first reported at around 12:30 p.m. Monday and rapidly expanded in the hot and dry desert winds.
“The problem here is not only the wind, but also very low relative humidity, which does not give good recovery times for fuels. So, the fuel is very dry and the humidity is extremely low and the wind is pushing it,” Maggie Cline De La Rosa with Cal Fire told KTLA’s Shelby Nelson.
Cal Fire officials said that an estimated 1,300 homes have been evacuated in the following areas:
- South of Sage Road and Golden Creek
- East of Becker Lane
- West of Boulder Vista
- North of Cottonwood Creek
- South of Highway 371
- West of Soreson and north of County Line Road
An evacuation warning was also issued for the following areas:
- East of Vail Lake Resort
- West of Shirley Way
- North of David Street
- South of Pueblo Road and Exa Ely Road
- West of Cahuilla Tribal Reservation boundary and north of County Line Road
- North of Cleveland National Forest
- South of Watts Road, Esplendida Way, Avenida Bravura
- East of Pauba Road, De Portola Road
- West of Round Top Canyon Road
A care and reception center has been set up at Great Oak High School, located at 32555 Deer Hollow Way in Temecula. Residents evacuating large animals can take them to the San Jacinto Animal Shelter, located at 581 S. Grand Avenue in San Jacinto.
Lifelong Aguanga resident Mindy Ellison said the high winds blew burning embers toward the hill behind her home, starting a blaze dangerously close to where she lives.
“That hill…has never burned as long as we’ve lived here,” she said. “The two surrounding hills have, but that one, it’s the first time burning.”
A searchable map of the evacuation areas affected by the Highland Fire can be found by following this link.
Another fire broke out last night in Riverside County around 10:30 p.m. Monday evening, torching 30 acres on the north side of Mount Rubidoux.
As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, that fire, dubbed the Mission Fire, had been 100 percent contained, officials told KTLA 5’s Carlos Herrera.
This is a developing story. Stay with KTLA for additional updates.