Snow Fire burns near Palm Springs, continues to threaten homes

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PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – A brush fire sparked by a vehicle fire northwest of Palm Springs has burned 6,013 acres and was threatening at least 400 homes, but did not grow overnight, officials said today.

The “Snow Fire” was reported at 2:40 p.m. Thursday in the 15000 block of Snow Creek Road, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. It was 20% contained as of Sunday morning.

Flames continued to threaten at least 400 homes in the Windy Point community, fire officials said.

No injuries or structure losses have been reported so far.

The evacuation order for the Snow Creek area, north of Cottonwood Road, southeast of Snowcreek Road and west of Falls Creek, which has approximately 40 homes, was lifted Saturday evening. The evacuation warning for Windy Point remains in effect.

Non-mandatory evacuation warnings were also issued for homes south of Overture Drive, north of Overture Drive, east of Clearwater Way and west of Highway 111.

A temporary evacuation point was established at the James A. Venable Community Center at 50390 Carmen Ave. in Cabazon, where American Red Cross personnel were on hand providing snacks and water amid COVID-19 safety protocols, and arranging lodging at nearby hotels.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the American Red Cross to forego setting up congregate shelters in recent months, opting instead to arrange for hotel stays for evacuees with nowhere to go.

The CHP reported that the blaze began after a work truck caught fire north of Snow Creek on Thursday afternoon, which spread to nearby vegetation.

Flames have since spread into the San Bernardino National Forest and the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, prompting a multi-agency response.

A total of 215 firefighters were assigned to the firefight from several agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. They were being assisted by four Cal Fire aircraft and two water-dropping helicopters.