Two people are dead and one injured as a fast-growing wildfire Monday, Sept. 5 swept through the foothills east of Hemet.
Moving west toward Diamond Valley Lake, the Fairview fire was 700 acres and 5% contained as of 7:45 p.m. Seven structures have been destroyed with several more damaged, Cal Fire/Riverside County tweeted.
An evacuation order is in effect for residents south of Stetson Avenue, north of Cactus Valley Road, west of Fairview Avenue and east of State Street.
Sheriff’s deputies went door to door, telling residents in the evacuation zone to leave, Cal Fire Capt. Richard Cordova said during a briefing that was livestreamed on social media. He added that 1,500 homes are affected.
An evacuation center has been set up at Tahquitz High School at 4425 Titan Trail in Hemet.
The fire, which was first reported around 2 p.m. at Fairview Avenue and Bautista Road, started at 20 acres before growing to 600 acres amid high winds and sweltering temperatures of more than 100 degrees.
“There was a very large column of smoke and a very well-established vegetation fire going before (firefighters) even got on scene,” Cordova said, adding that “strong east winds” helped the fire grow.
No further information was provided regarding the deaths, but one civilian suffered burns from the fire, Cordova said, adding that no firefighters had been injured.
Thirty-three engine companies, seven fire crews, six air tankers and four helicopters were assigned to the Fairview fire as of 7 p.m.
Footage shot by ABC7 and KTLA appears to show homes burning.
Smoke from the fire was visible throughout Riverside County and as far away as Orange County.
The fire’s cause remains under investigation.
Besides the Fairview fire, Inland firefighters were also busy dealing with the Radford fire in the San Bernardino National Forest south of Big Bear Lake.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.