Some evacuated residents in Corona were allowed to return home late Thursday night as authorities continued to fight a brush fire that spread to cover 250 acres. The flames were 5 percent contained.
The fire sparked shortly after 3 p.m. just outside the city's southeast limits, at the base of the Saddleback mountains in the area of Skyline Drive and Burrero Way, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. It was being dubbed the Skyline Fire.
About two hours later, it grew to 75 acres and forced the evacuation of the Orchard Glen community.
Most of the major active flames were put out by late evening, but the hillsides were still smoldering Thursday night, and officials said hotspots could flare up.
“There’s still the possibility of winds kicking up some embers and flaring up this fire, so we’re going to remain vigilant for the next 24 to 48 hours,” Riverside County Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera said.
Evacuations were lifted for most, although nearly 50 homes remained under mandatory orders on Burrero Way, Burnett Circle, Folson Circle, Brannan Circle, Rawley Street and Gareth Circle.
A full list of addresses can be found here. Officials asked returning residents to keep their cars in the driveway and off the streets to allow space for emergency vehicles.
A Red Cross evacuation shelter was set up at Corona High School, located at 1150 W. 10th St., and those affected can get further information on the city's website.
In the late afternoon, crews could be seen dousing homes at the bottom of the foothills in fire retardant as the flames neared the city limits.
Still, some chose to remain home and wait out the threat. One Orchard Glen resident, Jasmine Quintanilla, said she would stay until flames closed in.
“Last fire we were out of our homes for about a week, so we didn’t want to do that again," she told KTLA. "As long as it doesn’t get too close, we’re going to stay.”
Debbie Carreon, who also lives in the community, said she felt "confident" fire crews had it under control.
"Not so much so that I want people not to listen, but so much so that I really do feel — once we didn’t see flames coming down the hill anymore, and once everything kind of felt secure — I felt pretty safe,” Carreon said.
The Cleveland National Forest was also threatened, and Foothill Parkway was shut down between South Lincoln Avenue and Paseo Grande. The road was expected to remain closed through the Friday morning commute, officials said.
Firefighters said there was no immediate threat to neighboring Anaheim, but the Anaheim Fire Department said it would actively monitor the situation.
In the afternoon, a large column of smoke was seen billowing northeast across Corona and toward Jurupa Valley. Though the smoke was heavy, there were not many large flames visible, though some smaller patches were burning.
About 240 firefighters had responded to the blaze, and authorities said they made progress quickly thanks to aggressive tactics and a well-coordinated air assault.
It was not immediately known what caused the fire to break out.