Monday, October 3, 2022

Hemet fire: Evacuation orders grow as deadly Fairview Fire spreads to 9,846 acres

HEMET, Calif. (KABC) — A deadly brush fire in the Hemet area exploded in size to 9,846 acres on Wednesday as crews continued their efforts to stop it from spreading in all directions amid a brutal heat wave.

The Fairview Fire broke out Monday afternoon in the area of ​​Fairview Avenue and Bautista Road and destroyed at least seven structures – several of them apparently homes – and damaged several others, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

With intense heat in the forecast for at least a few more days, fire officials had expected it to burn as much as it has. The fire is 5% contained.

“This fire was moving in an opposite direction that it would normally do on a typical day this time of year,” said Josh Ansen, Cal Fire’s incident commander for the fire. “So instead of a… southwest wind it was coming out of the east and pushed that fire to the west down Avery Canyon.”

The two victims of the fire have not been identified, but Riverside County fire officials believe they were trying to escape the flames in that canyon. Their bodies were found in a burned car, and authorities believe they were related.

“That area is a one way in, one way out. So if you don’t leave in time, or if you get trapped by fire, there’s no other way to go,” said Cal Fire’s Richard Cordova.

A third person who was hospitalized with burn injuries is expected to survive.

WATCH: Evacuated residents keeping close eye on Fairview Fire in Hemet

Evacuations were ordered for thousands of homes in the area.

A new evacuation order was issued at 4 pm 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.

Officials also issued a boil water notice for residents in the fire-affected areas in east Hemet. Those residents are being advised to only use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes as a safety precautions.

A care center for evacuees was established at Tahquitz High School, 4425 Titan Trail in Hemet.

The Hemet Unified School District said schools would remain closed until further notice because of the fire.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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