Car crash ignites 5,000-acre brush fire in California
iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — California fire officials issued evacuation warnings for some residents in Riverside County Monday night after a car crash ignited a 5,000-acre brush fire in a remote area located about 80 miles east of Los Angeles.
The massive wildfire was about 10 percent contained as of late Monday night, according to the Riverside County Fire Department, as it continued to burn between the cities of Beaumont and San Jacinto amid dry conditions.
The brush fire quickly grew from 1,200 acres at 9:30 p.m. to 5,000 acres at around midnight, the Riverside County Fire Department said, adding that it had deployed more than 300 emergency workers to battle the blaze.
The blaze was first reported at around 3 p.m. after a single-car crash near Lamb Canyon sparked a 30-acre fire that quickly began to spread at a “critical rate,” officials said.
Two people were taken to the hospital with unknown injuries in connection to the accident, according to officials.
The fire, which authorities referred to as Manzanita Fire, shut down Highway 79 for most of the evening and prompted evacuation warnings for residents on multiple roads.
The fire department issued voluntary evacuations for residents living on four roads in Riverside County, and evacuation warnings were in place in other areas, including the communities of Poppet Flats and Silent Valley.
The Riverside County sheriff’s office said it had “accidentally” put out evacuation alerts to residents in cities where there is no fire, including Norco, Corona and Jurupa Valley. The department said the cause of the mistake was under investigation and it was “working to correct it.”
A separate out-of-control wildfire forced more than 200 people to evacuate near San Luis Obispo, California on Monday. That blaze broke out late Monday afternoon and grew to about 500 acres in just a few hours, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
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