Photos by Mario Sevilla
HEMET – A wind-whipped brush fire broke out near Hemet this afternoon, charring 122 acres and causing a massive power outage before CalFire aircraft slowed it down.
The blaze dubbed the Stowe Fire sparked for unknown reasons about 3 p.m. in the area of California and Stowe, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Engine 2 responded and radioed in for back up and engine 3, 4 and 5 and CalFire brush assist responded as a result of the wind and the quick rate of speed. “It was so intense it jumped from the south side of Stetson to the north side of Stetson and was traveling toward Hwy 74,” said Mario Sevilla, who was on scene taking pictures for Valley News and I.E. Media.
Fifteen engine crews were sent to the scene and were being assisted by a water-dropping helicopter and two airtankers dropping retardant.
The blaze grew from five to 105 acres amid gusty winds, but the forward rate of spread was stopped as of 4:55 p.m., with fire officials saying full containment was expected late this evening.
The brusher damaged several Southern California Edison power lines, causing 2,000 to 3,000 customers to briefly lose power in East Hemet. Most of the customers had their power restored within a half-hour, although 150 customers close to the burn area were expected to remain without electricity for several hours, officials said.
No injuries or structure damage were reported.
Hemet Fire Department firefighters were deployed along with county fire crews from Riverside and San Diego.
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