MORENO VALLEY  – A brush fire broke out today in the hills east of Moreno Valley, burning about 36 acres and forcing a partial closure of the Moreno Valley (60) Freeway.
The non-injury blaze was reported shortly before 5 p.m. in the area of the eastbound 60 and Gilman Springs Road, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

The agency said multiple engine and hand crews were sent to the area, which is known as the Badlands for its rugged terrain, encountering flames moving at a rapid rate through light brush.

There are very few residences in the area.

Cal Fire air tankers and helicopters were summoned to make runs on the brusher.
California Highway Patrol officers shut down the eastbound 60 at Theodore Street in Moreno Valley, forcing motorists to go south through San Jacinto and back to the freeway via Highway 79. Westbound lanes remained open.
As of 8:30 p.m., the freeway was fully open, but Gilman Springs Road south between the 60 and Alessandro Boulevard was blocked.

The fire was 70% contained as of 6:30 p.m. “With the smoke clearing, our Air Attack had a much clearer view and determined that the fire is currently 28 acres, rather than the initial 60 reported,” the fire department tweeted at 6:40 p.m.

Officials followed that up with a tweet at 8:46 p.m. that put the acreage burned at 36.59 acres, and said no further updates were expected until Wednesday morning unless significant activity occurred.

There was no immediate word on how the brusher started.

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