Inland Empire News

Jurupa Valley brush fire: Crews gain upper hand

Friday, March 01, 2013

Crews are gaining the upper hand in battling a brush fire in Jurupa Valley, but gusty winds are still a concern on Friday.

There were some flare-ups overnight, but there's been good progress in the morning. The real worry is with possible gusty winds and high temperatures. Firefighters are scrambling to stamp out any hot spots before the winds pick up.

The fire had burned 311 acres and was about 60 percent contained at 6 p.m. Friday.

No injuries have been reported. One home suffered some minor damage and authorities say a shed was also lost.

The fire started at about 4:45 p.m. Thursday at Jurupa Regional Park near the Santa Ana riverbed at Rio Road and Calle Hermosa. Crews remained at the scene overnight. A wind advisory remained in effect for the area until 2 p.m. Friday.

Voluntary evacuation orders were lifted. Thursday, strong winds pushed the fire pretty close to homes.

"Having the flames come so close to your house and having everything be in a panic mode, it was bad," described area resident Michael Larosa. "We just grabbed important pictures, documents, whatever we could think of at the time and got going."

A big part of the problem were palm trees. Their fronds helped carry the fire into a nearby neighborhood.

"It's a huge factor. In fact, quite a bit of bamboo in the river bottom, and that's what causes a lot of the spotting out ahead of the fire," described Craig Birchfield, a Cal Fire spokesman.

Southern California Edison said seven power poles were destroyed by the fire. At one point, more than 1,800 people were without power.

Authorities have not confirmed what started the fire, though it was believed the fire may have been sparked by downed power lines. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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