Deadly blaze nears 20,000 acres, more evacuations, containment expected Monday

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Sept. 8, 10 am

 

 

HEMET (CNS) – More residents near the deadly Fairview Fire near Hemet were under evacuation orders today as the deadly wildfire’s size was listed at 18,657 acres, with an “expected full containment” date listed by authorities as Monday.
Meanwhile, the containment remained the same at 5%, despite a stepped-up response by firefighters struggling to slow the speed of the flames’ advance. The size of the fire was listed at 18,657 acres as of 7 a.m. Thursday by fire officials — meaning the blaze tripled in size over the previous 24 hours.
At 1 p.m. Thursday, Cal Fire announced that the area east of De Portola Road, west of Sage Road, north of East Benton Road and south of Diamond Valley Road was under a mandatory evacuation.
Around the same time, a new evacuation warning was posted south of Rawson Road, east of Washington Street and Anza Road, west of Highway 74 and north of Highways 79 and 371, where residents were advised to be prepared to leave should conditions change for the worse.

Mandatory evacuations remained in place for residents south of Cactus Valley Road, north of Minto Way, north of Red Mountain Road, west of the U.S. Forest Service boundary and east of Sage, west of Wilson Way, south of Highway 74, east of Fairview Avenue, north of Stetson Avenue, south of Minto, south of Red Mountain, west and north of Stanley Road, and east of Sage.
Other evacuation warnings were active for those living west of Reed Valley Road and west of the USFS boundary, south of Stanley and north of Wilson Valley Road.
The Department of Motor Vehicles in Hemet is temporarily closed today because of the fire. Driver test appointments are being rerouted to Temecula and Banning departments.
The Fairview Fire was reported shortly after 2 p.m. Monday on Fairview Avenue and Bautista Road and began spreading rapidly. By Wednesday morning, the blaze was mapped at 5,000 acres and grew to more than 7,000 by 10 a.m. Its size was placed at 9,846 acres by late Wednesday afternoon and 19,377 by 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Containment was holding at 5%, the same percentage it has been since Monday evening.
Cal Fire issued evacuation orders Wednesday night for residents west of Wilson Way, south of Highway 74, east of Fairview Avenue, and north of Stetson Avenue. Evacuation warnings were issued to residents east of Fairview Avenue, south of the San Jacinto Riverbed, and east of Wilson Way.
Additionally, Highway 74 was fully closed between Mountain Center and Borco Street.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Josh Janssen said firefighters were strategically dispersed Wednesday, following a day that saw the flames “outpace our efforts.”
The blaze was pushing into the San Bernardino National Forest, and on Tuesday, Cal Fire established unified command with the U.S. Forest Service.
Janssen expressed hope Wednesday morning the tactical realignment would allow crews to get a better handle on the fire, which he said was burning with active flames on all sides.
Cal Fire and Forest Service personnel had a community meeting Wednesday at the Garner Valley Fire Station in Mountain Center.
Despite the efforts, however, the fire nearly doubled in size between Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
Evacuations were previously issued Wednesday afternoon for residents south of Cactus Valley Road, north of Minto Way, north of Red Mountain Road, west of the national forest boundary, and east of Sage Road.
Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for a wide area south of Stetson Avenue, north of Cactus Valley Road, west of Bautista Canyon, and east of State Street.
Evacuation warnings were posted Wednesday afternoon for the area beginning east of Red Mountain Road and the forest service boundary, south to Minto, south to Red Mountain, west of Stanley Road, and east of Sage Road.
A warning issued Monday for Bautista Canyon Road, south of Stetson and north of the Two Streams Fork trailhead, was converted to a mandatory evacuation Tuesday due to the proximity of flames to homes in the area.
Additional evacuations were later ordered south of Cactus Valley Road and east
to Thomas Mountain Ridge.
Evacuation warnings were extended east into the Mountain Center area, with warnings in place along Highway 74. Warnings were also issued north of Highway 371 in the Cahuilla Indian Reservation and Anza.
Hemet Unified School District campuses remained closed Wednesday.
The Riverside County Emergency Management Department declared a local emergency Wednesday in response to the fire and to enable the county to apply for federal and state relief. The Board of Supervisors is slated to formally
approve the proclamation during its meeting Tuesday. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared
a state of emergency covering the fire zone Tuesday.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District extended smoke
advisories to 5 p.m. Thursday because of the layers emanating from the Fairview
Fire. The agency advised people in sensitive health to take precautions
wherever drift smoke or ash is present.
Multiple Cal Fire air tankers and water-dropping helicopters were
making runs on the brusher during daylight hours.
A temporary flight restriction was established directly over the fire, barring civilian aircraft from coming within a 15-mile ring, from Hemet to Lake Hemet, well inside the San Bernardino National Forest.
Officials said the fire resulted in two civilian fatalities and one civilian burn injury. Sheriff’s officials confirmed Wednesday the two deceased victims were found inside a vehicle in the 42400 block of Avery Canyon Road in East Hemet Monday, apparently overcome by the flames while trying to leave.
The two victims have not been formally identified by authorities, but friends identified them to CBS2 as Ian Compton, 40, and his 27-year-old autistic daughter Mikayla Porter. Friends said their family pets were also killed. Compton’s wife, Tina, was severely burned and remains hospitalized with third-degree burns to her legs and arms, friends said.
A sheriff’s official said Wednesday the injured woman, who was found outside the vehicle on Avery Canyon Road, is expected to survive. A GoFundMe page established on behalf of the Compton family had raised more than $11,000 as of Thursday morning.
At least seven buildings have been destroyed and several more were damaged. Friends said the Comptons’ home was among the structures destroyed.
More than 1,500 homes were affected by the evacuation orders earlier Tuesday. It was unclear how many more were added to the total when orders were expanded later in the day.
An evacuation center was set up at Tahquitz High School in Hemet.
The Department of Animal Services said the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus was accepting large and small domestic creatures, including livestock, for safekeeping. As of Monday night, 12 dogs, six cats, and a pet rabbit were placed in the facility.
All fees for retaining pets will be waived under the county emergency order, agency spokesman John Welsh said.
Animal control officers have been patrolling the evacuation zone to search for stranded animals. No horses have been impounded, but “an officer provided water and food for a potbellied pig, and another officer provided water for a herd of goats,” Welsh said.
According to Caltrans, the following corridors were closed to southbound traffic in East Hemet: Stanford Street, Dartmouth Street, Cornell Street, Aurora Drive, Columbia Street, Yale Street, Girard Street, San Jacinto Street, Santa Fe Street, Meridian Street, Hemet Street, Lake Street, and Fairview Avenue.
The cause of the fire was under investigation. In a document filed with the California Public Utilities Commission, Southern California Edison reported “circuit activity” in the area close to the time the fire erupted.    Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.


UPDATE: 4:30 pm

Fairview Fire burns 9846 acres with new evacuation orders announced

The Fairview Fire burning near Hemet has grown to 9,846 acres, with containment still at 5% as of 4:30 pm. New evacuation orders announced.

HEMET – A deadly wildfire that prompted evacuations south of Hemet grew to more than 9,800 acres today, with no change in containment despite a stepped-up response by fire crews struggling to slow the speed of the flames’ advance.
The Fairview Fire was reported shortly after 2 p.m. Monday on Fairview Avenue and Bautista Road, and began spreading rapidly. By Wednesday morning, the blaze was mapped at 5,000 acres, but it grew to more than 7,000 by 10 a.m. Its size was placed at 9,846 acres by late Wednesday afternoon.
Containment was holding at 5%, the same percentage it has been since Monday evening.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Josh Janssen said firefighters were strategically dispersed Wednesday, following a day that saw the flames “outpace our efforts.”
The blaze was pushing into the San Bernardino National Forest, and on Tuesday, Cal Fire established unified command with the U.S. Forest Service. Janssen expressed hope Wednesday morning the tactical realignment would allow crews to get a better handle on the fire, which he said was burning with active flames on all sides. Despite the efforts, however, the fire nearly doubled in size between Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
A community meeting with personnel from Cal Fire and the Forest Service was slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Garner Valley Fire Station, 59200 Morris Ranch Road, Mountain Center.
A new evacuation order was issued at 4 p.m. Wednesday for residents south of Cactus Valley Road, north of Minto Way, north of Red Mountain Road, west of the national forest boundary and east of Sage Road.
Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for a wide area south of Stetson Avenue, north of Cactus Valley Road, west of Bautista Canyon and east of State Street.
A new evacuation warning was posted Wednesday afternoon for the area beginning east of Red Mountain Road and the forest service boundary, south to Minto, south to Red Mountain, west of Stanley Road and east of Sage Road.
A warning that was issued Monday for Bautista Canyon Road, south of Stetson and north of the Two Streams Fork trailhead, was converted to a mandatory evacuation Tuesday due to the proximity of flames to homes in the area. Additional evacuations were later ordered south of Cactus Valley Road and east to Thomas Mountain Ridge.
Evacuation warnings were extended east into the Mountain Center area,
with warnings in place along Highway 74. Warnings were also issued north of
Highway 371 in the Cahuilla Indian Reservation and Anza.
Hemet Unified School District campuses remained closed Wednesday.
The Riverside County Emergency Management Department declared a local
emergency Wednesday in response to the fire and to enable the county to apply
for federal and state relief. The Board of Supervisors is slated to formally
approve the proclamation during its meeting Tuesday. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared
a state of emergency covering the fire zone Tuesday.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District extended smoke
advisories to 5 p.m. Thursday because of the layers emanating from the Fairview
Fire. The agency advised people in sensitive health to take precautions
wherever drift smoke or ash is present.
Multiple Cal Fire air tankers and water-dropping helicopters were
making runs on the brusher during daylight hours.
A temporary flight restriction was established directly over the fire,
barring civilian aircraft from coming within a 15-mile ring, from Hemet to
Lake Hemet, well inside the San Bernardino National Forest.
Officials said the fire resulted in two civilian fatalities and one
civilian burn injury. Sheriff’s officials confirmed Wednesday the two deceased
victims were found inside a vehicle in the 42400 block of Avery Canyon Road in
East Hemet Monday, apparently overcome by the flames while trying to flee. The
two victims, who have not been identified, are believed to be related.
A woman, also believed to be related to the other victims, was found
severely burned outside the vehicle. She was taken to a hospital and is
expected to survive, according to a sheriff’s official.
At least seven buildings have been destroyed and several more were damaged.
More than 1,500 homes were affected by the evacuation orders earlier
Tuesday. It was unclear how many more were added to the total when orders were
expanded later in the day.
An evacuation center was set up at Tahquitz High School at 4425 Titan
Trail, Hemet.
The Department of Animal Services said the San Jacinto Valley Animal
Campus was accepting large and small domestic creatures, including livestock,
for safekeeping. As of Monday night, 12 dogs, six cats and a pet rabbit were
placed in the facility, located at 581 S. Grand Ave., San Jacinto.
All fees for retaining pets will be waived under the county emergency
order, agency spokesman John Welsh said.
He said animal control officers have been patrolling the evacuation
zone to search for stranded animals. No horses have been impounded, but “an
officer provided water and food for a potbellied pig, and another officer
provided water for a herd of goats,” Welsh said.
According to Caltrans, the following corridors were closed to
southbound traffic in East Hemet: Stanford Street, Dartmouth Street, Cornell
Street, Aurora Drive, Columbia Street, Yale Street, Girard Street, San Jacinto
Street, Santa Fe Street, Meridian Street, Hemet Street, Lake Street and
Fairview Avenue.
The cause of the fire was under investigation. In a document filed
with the California Public Utilities Commission, Southern California Edison
reported “circuit activity” in the area close to the time the fire erupted.
Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

 

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9/7/22 10 am

HEMET  – A deadly wildfire that has prompted evacuations south of Hemet swelled to more than 7,000 acres today, with no change in containment as fire crews stepped up their response in hopes of slowing the pace of the flames.

The Fairview Fire was reported shortly after 2 p.m. Monday on Fairview Avenue and Bautista Road, and quickly grew to 2,000 acres by 10 p.m., according to the Riverside County Fire Department. The blaze expanded to 5,000 acres by 6 a.m. Wednesday, then was estimated at 7,091 four hours later, with containment holding at 5%, according to officials at the scene.
Riverside County Fire Department/Cal Fire Battalion Chief Josh Janssen said the firefighting effort will be vastly expanded Wednesday, following a day that saw the flames “outpace our efforts.” He said the blaze continues to spread with “open fire on all sides of the fire still threatening several communities.”

He said the speed of the flames Tuesday prompted a decision to create a unified command with U.S. Forest Service personnel. Along with county, state and federal firefighters, crews from multiple municipal agencies, including the Hemet Fire Department and Murrieta Fire & Rescue, were working the fire lines.
Nearly 300 personnel had been deployed Tuesday.

Janssen said going into a unified command will help increase the
personnel and equipment dedicated to the blaze.

Smoke from the Fairview Fire casts a warm hue in the sky at sunset as flames continue to spread into the night. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Evacuation orders remain in place for a wide area south of Stetson
Avenue, north of Cactus Valley Road, west of Bautista Canyon and east of State
Street. An evacuation warning that was issued Monday for Bautista Canyon Road,
south of Stetson and north of the Two Streams Fork trailhead, was converted to
a mandatory evacuation Tuesday due to the proximity of flames to homes in the
area. Additional evacuations were later ordered south of Cactus Valley Road and
east to Thomas Mountain Ridge.

Evacuation warnings were extended east into the Mountain Center area,
with warnings in place along Highway 74. Warnings were also issued north of
Highway 371 in Cahuilla and Anza.

Hemet Unified School District campuses remained closed again
Wednesday. Authorities said the district was evaluating the situation on a
daily basis and would keep families notified about future closures.
The blaze was moving southeast and extended into the San Bernardino
National Forest Tuesday afternoon.

At least four Cal Fire air tankers and two water-dropping helicopters
were making runs on the brusher.

A temporary flight restriction was established directly over the fire,
barring civilian aircraft from coming within 5 miles of it. The Federal
Aviation Administration was expected to widen the TFR as the fire spilled into
the national forest.

Winds were blowing about 15 mph, with gusts to 20 mph, according to
the National Weather Service. The temperature peaked at 105 degrees in the
Hemet Valley Tuesday.

The blaze was concentrated in the unincorporated communities south and
east of Hemet.

Groundcrews work into the night clearing large vegetation along Bautista Canyon Road in an effort to slow the Fairview Fire spread. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Officials said the fire resulted in two civilian fatalities and one
civilian burn injury. Sheriff’s officials confirmed Wednesday the two deceased
victims were found inside a vehicle in the 42400 block of Avery Canyon Road in
eastern Hemet on Monday, apparently overcome by the flames while trying to flee
the area. The two victims, who have not been identified, are believed to be
related.

A woman, also believed to be related to the other victims, was found
severely burned outside the vehicle. She was taken to a hospital and is
expected to survive, according to a sheriff’s official.
At least seven buildings have been destroyed and several more were damaged.
More than 1,500 homes were affected by the evacuation orders earlier
Tuesday. It was unclear how many more were added to the total when orders were
expanded alter in the day.

An evacuation center was set up at Tahquitz High School at 4425 Titan
Trail, Hemet. Officials said evacuees could bring their small animals to the
center, where personnel would assist with evacuated pets.
The Department of Animal Services said the San Jacinto Valley Animal
Campus was accepting large and small domestic creatures, including livestock,
for safekeeping. As of Monday night, 12 dogs, six cats and a pet rabbit were
placed in the facility, located at 581 S. Grand Ave., San Jacinto.
All fees for retaining pets will be waived under a county emergency
order, agency spokesman John Welsh said.

He said animal control officers have been patrolling the evacuation
zone to search for stranded animals. No horses have been impounded, but “an
officer provided water and food for a potbellied pig, and another officer
provided water for a herd of goats,” Welsh said.

Along with county, state and federal firefighters, crews from multiple
municipal agencies were working the fire lines. Valley News/File photo

According to Caltrans, the following corridors were closed to
southbound traffic in East Hemet: Stanford Street, Dartmouth Street, Cornell
Street, Aurora Drive, Columbia Street, Yale Street, Girard Street, San Jacinto
Street, Santa Fe Street, Meridian Street, Hemet Street, Lake Street and
Fairview Avenue.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced early Tuesday that California has secured
a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help ensure the
availability of vital resources to suppress the Fairview Fire.
The grant will enable local, state and tribal agencies responding to
the fire to apply for 75% reimbursement of their eligible fire suppression
costs.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. In a document filed
with the California Public Utilities Commission, Southern California Edison
reported “circuit activity” in the area close to the time the fire erupted.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.