Story Summary

Silver Fire Burning Near Banning

silver-fire1The wind-driven Silver Fire broke out on Aug. 7 at Poppet Flats Road, near Highway 243, just south of Banning.

The fire forced thousands of people from their homes as it advanced east toward Palm Springs.

 

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BANNING, Calif. (KTLA) — The Silver Fire burning in Riverside County was expected to be fully contained by Monday, fire officials said.

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The Silver Fire has destroyed 26 homes and damaged two others, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze erupted last Wednesday afternoon and grew quickly, fanned by strong winds.

It had burned 20,292 acres and was 90 percent contained as of Sunday evening.

The fire has destroyed 48 structures, including 26 residences, one commercial building and 21 outbuildings, officials said.

An additional eight structures, including two homes, were damaged.

There have been 12 injuries reported — 11 to firefighters and one to a civilian.

The Pacific Crest, Marion Mountain and Seven Pines hiking trails remain closed, according to an update from Cal Fire.

Marion Mountain, Fern Basin, Dark Canyon, Black Mountain and Boulder Basin campgrounds were also closed.

Highway 243 remained closed between Banning and Poppet Flats.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation. The estimated cost to date of fighting the fire was over $8.8 million, officials said.

BANNING, Calif. (KTLA) — Firefighters on Friday continued to battle a wind-fueled brush fire near Banning, which has forced thousands to evacuate and destroyed dozens of homes.

The so-called Silver Fire had burned 18,000 acres and was 40 percent contained as of Friday evening.

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The Silver Fire has destroyed more than two dozen structures near Banning.

The blaze has destroyed 27 structures, including 26 residences and one commercial building, according to an update from Cal Fire.

There have been five injuries reported, including four firefighters and one civilian.

Mandatory evacuations were lifted Friday for Snow Creek Village, Cabazon, Mt. Edna and Poppet Flats.

Evacuations remained in place for the communities of Vista Grande, Twin Pines and Silent Valley.

Black Mountain and Boulder Basin Campgrounds as well as Black Mountain Fire lookout were closed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Highway 243 remained closed between Banning and Poppet Flats.

The fire broke out around 2 p.m. on Wednesday in the area of Poppet Flats Road near Highway 243, south of Banning.

The fast-moving blaze burned through nine miles in less than 24 hours.

High temperatures, low relative humidity and strong winds were fueling the blaze.

Fire crews were also dealing with dense, dry brush and steep, rugged terrain.

More than 1,600 firefighters were assigned to the fire on Friday, along with 139 engines, eight helicopters and 16 dozers, according to Cal Fire.

The fire continued to burn actively overnight, fire officials said. It was moving east into the Cabazon area, fanned by gusty winds out of the west.

Sustained west winds were blowing at about 30 mph on Friday morning.

“We can barely stand down here. You can imagine on the side of that hill with the rocks and terrain how hard it would be to put in hose or cut lines with hand tools,” Cal Fire Capt. Lucas Spellman said.

Officials expected a shift in the direction of the wind as the onshore flow dissipates on Saturday, which could impact the behavior of the fire.

In Snow Creek Village, many residents said they were staying put, despite the mandatory evacuation orders.

Resident Donald Tosseau spent the day on Thursday hosing down his roof and clearing brush, preparing for the approaching flames.

He said he was worried about the embers and about his neighbors’ home.

“The house is like a kindling, and if it goes, mine will go as well,” Tosseau said.

He lived through the deadly Esperanza Fire in 2006, and said the flames did not come as close to homes in the area back then.

There was no immediate word on a possible cause of the fire.

An evacuation center was set up at Hemet High School, located at 41701 East Stetson Ave.

A second evacuation center was open at Beaumont High School at 39139 Cherry Valley Blvd.

Animals were being accepted at the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, located at 581 S. Grand Ave. in San Jacinto.


View SILVER FIRE: Points of interest in a larger map

BANNING, Calif. (KTLA) — A fast-moving brush fire continued to burn out of control near Banning on Thursday, forcing at least 1,500 people from their homes.

The so-called Silver Fire had scorched 14,000 acres and was 20 percent contained as of Thursday evening, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

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The Silver Fire has destroyed more than a dozen structures near Banning.

“There have been 26 homes and one commercial structure destroyed by the fire. Two structures were damaged,” the department said.

Mandatory evacuation orders remained in place for the communities of Vista Grande, Mt. Edna, Poppet Flats, Twin Pines and Silent Valley.

Portions of Cabazon were also evacuated, including Snow Creek Village, Peach Street, Plum Street, Eucalyptus Street, Riza Avenue, Ida Avenue and Helen Avenue east to Elm.

Additionally, Black Mountain was also evacuated and closed as a precaution on Thursday morning.

Boulder Basin and Black Mountain Campgrounds on Black Mountain Road have been closed through Aug. 15.

Highway 243 was closed to all traffic between Banning and Idyllwild.

The blaze began around 2 p.m. on Wednesday in the area of Poppet Flats Road near Highway 243 and spread quickly.

Fire officials expected the flames to continue to push east toward Palm Springs, fueled by onshore west winds.

The fire was burning in an area that has not burned for about seven years, since the Esperanza Fire in 2006, Cal Fire spokesperson Julie Hudson said.

Fire crews were dealing with dense, dry brush ripe for tindering as well as rugged terrain, Hudson said.

There were five injuries reported, including four firefighters and one civilian, according to Cal Fire.

The condition of the injured civilian was not immediately known. The victim was reportedly airlifted to a local hospital burn center.

Some 1,000 firefighters from numerous agencies were on the fire lines. They were being aided by 13 helicopters, six air tankers and eight dozers.

Continued work by hand crews and dozers to build containment lines and clear the areas around homes was expected to be key, officials said.

Fire crews took advantage of cooler temperatures, high humidity and calm winds early Thursday to set backfires ahead of the main portion of the fire.

There was no immediate word on a possible cause of the fire.

An evacuation center was set up at Hemet High School, located at 41701 East Stetson Ave.

A second evacuation center was open at Beaumont High School at 39139 Cherry Valley Blvd.

Animals were being accepted at the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, located at 581 S. Grand Ave. in San Jacinto.


View SILVER FIRE: Points of interest in a larger map

BANNING, Calif. (KTLA) — Hundreds of firefighters were battling a fast-moving brush fire Wednesday burning near Highway 243 just south of Banning.

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Silver Fire near Banning

The blaze, dubbed the Silver Fire, broke out around 2 p.m. and had burned more than 6,000 acres as of 9:30 p.m., according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

More than 500 firefighters, along with four air tankers and five helicopters were sent to Poppet Flats Road to fight the fire.

Two firefighters and one civilian were injured, but no details were available, fire officials said.

At least 10 homes had been damaged or destroyed, fire officials said.

Mandatory evacuations were in effect for the communities of Mt. Edna, Vista Grande, Poppet Flats, Silent Valley and Twin Pines.

An evacuation center has been set up at Hemet High School on East Stetson Avenue.

Highway 243 was closed between Banning and Azalea Trail in Poppet Flats.

There was no word on what may have caused the fire.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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