RIVERSIDE: Box Springs Mountain blaze almost out

RIVERSIDE – Firefighters were edging closer today to fully containing a wildfire that has scorched more than 1,000 acres around a mountain between Moreno Valley and Riverside.

As of late this morning, the “Blaine Fire” was 95 percent contained, with expectations that the blaze will be completely encircled by nightfall. Roughly 1,050 acres have burned since the fire was reported about 4:10 p.m. Sunday near the 300 block of Blaine Street, on the edge of Box Springs Mountain Park, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

One house sustained minor smoke and fire damage to an upper floor in the early stages of the blaze.

Fire department officials advised that retardant dropped from planes may have caused property damage, and anyone whose home was affected should contact the agency at (951) 436-4142. Claimants will be required to provide their name, address and phone number.

About 200 personnel were working to knock down the stalled brusher.

The initial rapid growth of the fire prompted a mandatory evacuation order for all residences west of Hidden Springs Drive, from Greenridge Drive to Country Gate Road, in Moreno Valley, but a fire department spokeswoman said the order was lifted about 9 p.m. Sunday.

In the first three hours of the blaze, helicopters and air tankers were swarming around the 3,100-foot peak of Box Springs Mountain, making runs on the flames as they progressed eastward. Helicopter crews made multiple passes over UC Riverside, retrieving water from reservoirs that feed into citrus groves on the southwest end of the campus.

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