Calif. crews hold Fairview Fire in check after it triples in size

The fatal fire has scorched about 18,657 acres, prompted expanded evacuations and the doubling of resources


Nathaniel Percy
The Orange County Register

HEMET, Calif. — Firefighters helped keep the Fairview Fire, burning near Hemet, under 20,000 acres overnight after the fire more than tripled in size Wednesday, authorities said Thursday morning, Sept. 8.

The fire remained at an estimated 18,657 acres burned, with 5% containment as of 7:30 a.m., Cal Fire officials said. At one point, fire officials had the fire scorching more than 19,000 acres, but a further analysis decreased the acreage.

Firefighters helped keep the Fairview Fire, burning near Hemet, California, under 20,000 acres overnight after the fire more than tripled in size Wednesday.
Firefighters helped keep the Fairview Fire, burning near Hemet, California, under 20,000 acres overnight after the fire more than tripled in size Wednesday. (Photo/Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Full containment was expected by Monday, Sept. 12.

The blaze has destroyed seven structures, killed two and injured one — which all occurred on Monday.

The fire’s growth on Wednesday prompted expanded evacuations, the doubling of resources and the declaration of a local emergency by Riverside County, with the hopes that the announcement would make the county eligible for federal and state financial assistance, officials said.

This map shows where the Fairview fire is burning near Hemet

The effort in fighting the fire has been greatly increased: 1,181 total personnel and seven helicopters were working the blaze.

Evacuations were in place for all residents south of  Cactus Valley Road, north of Minto Way and Red Mountain Road, West of the U.S. Forest Service boundary and east of Sage Road, officials said.

Warnings were issued for homes east of Red Mountain Road, south of Minto Way and Red Mountain Road, west and north of Stanley Road and east of Sage Road, officials said.

Those in need of shelter can seek refuge at Tahquitz High School, 4425 Tital Trail, where an evacuation center remained open. A second shelter is now available at the Temecula Community Center, 30875 Rancho Vista Road.

Hemet Unified School District campuses will remain closed on Thursday and Friday.

The cause of the fire, first reported about 2 p.m. Monday, was still under investigation. Southern California Edison, on the day of the fire, filed a report regarding unexplained “circuit activity” in the area of the ignition site around the time the fire was reported. An attorney, who has sued the utility, said the report was “very strong evidence” that the utility’s infrastructure ignited the deadly blaze.

A similar report filed in relation to the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel in February led to a lawsuit filed against the utility on behalf of homeowners who lost their homes or saw them heavily damaged in that fire.

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©2022 MediaNews Group, Inc. 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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