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Cherry Valley Fires Burn 300 Acres, Force Evacuations

Two wildland blazes burning in Cherry Valley total more than 300 acres, forcing about 150 homes to evacuate, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Three possible arson fires erupted Friday in Cherry Valley.

The Riverside County Fire Department said it was evacuating homes south of the county line, not south of County Line Road, as they previously reported. Other evacuation areas are north of Dutton Street and east of Oak Glen Road for the two wildland blazes burning in Cherry Valley.

The fires were reported at 5 p.m. in the area of Apple Tree Lane and Oak Glen Road, on the north end of the unincorporated community, which borders Beaumont, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Twenty engine crews and 10 hand crews, numbering well over 200 personnel, were sent to the location and encountered the three blazes coalescing in a drainage with heavy vegetation.

Two of the fires formed into one by 5:45 p.m., and that fire was about 60 acres, while the other was roughly 10 acres as of 6 p.m., according to reports from the scene.

Four Cal Fire air tankers and two water-dropping helicopters were immediately summoned to make runs on the wildfires.

Sheriff’s deputies shut down Oak Glen Road between Cherry Valley Boulevard and Wildwood Canyon Road, and shortly before 6 p.m., several streets came under mandatory evacuation, officials said.

A resident at 8189 Avenida Miravilla reported flames approaching her doorstep, and crews were sent to establish structure protection.

Witnesses called 911 as the fires started, stating a man was seen walking along Apple Tree, igniting each blaze. Arson investigators were dispatched to the area.

Along with county fire crews, personnel from the Calimesa, Morongo and
Palm Springs fire departments were sent to assist under a mutual aid request.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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