HEMET (CNS) – Heavy rain and strong winds from an incoming storm today
are expected to create dangerous conditions countywide, affecting the areas
around the Fairview Fire near Hemet in particular.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and high wind
warning starting today for Riverside County. The NWS predicts up to 7 inches of
rain in areas of Riverside County, which could create flash floods and mud and
debris flows. Forecasters say the areas most susceptible areas include the
Coachella Valley and recent burn areas.

“Based on forecasts, this appears to be a dangerous storm. We want
the public to prepare now,” said Bruce Banton, director of the Emergency
Management Department in Riverside County. “If you encounter a road that’s
flooded, never try to walk or drive through it.”

The flood watch is in effect until Saturday evening and the high wind
warning is in effect until all day today with gusts expected to reach 55 mph in
the valleys and 75 mph in the mountains and deserts.

Sandbags are available at fire stations and hardware stores in
Riverside County.

Additional evacuations have been ordered on the front lines of the
deadly Fairview Fire southeast of Hemet, now close to 24,000 acres, but
expanding at a slower rate, with containment possible early next week.

The Riverside County Fire Department reported about 8 p.m. Thursday
that the fire had grown to 23,919 acres and remains 5% contained — a figure
that hasn’t changed since Monday.

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