Firefighters on Saturday were battling the Apple fire, which has burned 1,900 acres in the Cherry Valley area of Riverside County, destroyed one home and prompted evacuations in some neighborhoods.
The vegetation fire was reported at 4:55 p.m. Friday in the 9000 block of Oak Glen Road, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. As of 8 a.m. Saturday, there was zero containment.
More than 300 firefighters, several helicopters and air tankers responded to the fire.
Evacuation orders are in place for residents north of Cherry Valley Boulevard, west of Highland Springs and east of Beaumont Avenue. They also include residents north of Gilman Street in the Banning Bluff area. An evacuation center has been opened at Beaumont High School for people and animals.
— CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department (@CALFIRERRU) August 1, 2020
Fernando Herrera, a public information officer with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Riverside County Fire Department, said Friday that about 1,000 residents had been ordered to evacuate. He said open land with thick vegetation has provided “quite a bit of fuel for that fire to continue to burn [and] have a lot of intensity.”
He said the fire was burning very close to homes.
“A lot of people’s backyards were on fire,” Herrera said. “It ran in between homes and around homes. It definitely was very threatening. We could have lost homes, but we brought in a massive amount of ground resources to do structure defense, protect the life and property of all these residents.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.