Structures burn as fast-moving fire in Hemet explodes; new fire near Big Bear Lake

A fast-moving bushfire just east of Hemet spread to 500 acres Monday afternoon, prompting evacuations, the Riverside County Fire Department said.

Evacuations were first ordered south of Thornton Avenue, north of Polly Butte Road, west of Fairview Avenue and east of State Street, then hours later expanded to include areas south of Stetson, north of Cactus Road, west of Fairview Avenue and east of State Street.

Video broadcast by ABC7 showed several structures on fire.

The fire was first reported at 3:37 p.m. when approximately 20 acres burned in light to medium vegetation around Fairview Avenue and Bautista Road, the fire department said in a tweet.

By 4:50 p.m., the fire had grown to 500 acres and was “still burning at a rapid rate,” the fire department tweeted.

Another fire erupted just west of Sugarloaf near Big Bear Lake and reportedly covered about 50 acres Monday afternoon, said Rebecca Miller, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino National Forest Service.

The fire, named Radford Fire, started at 1:30 p.m. and is at 0% containment, Miller said. About 140 firefighters are on the scene, others are on the way. The cause is still under investigation. Shortly after 6 p.m., the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department issued a mandatory evacuation order for people living east of Glass Road and State Route 38 to South Fork River Road.

The fire danger level for Big Bear Valley is currently “very high”.

Los Angeles Times

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