Nearly 2,000-acre brush fire south of Beaumont triggers smoke advisory for SoCal

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A massive brush fire that erupted overnight south of Beaumont sent plumes of smoke and ash toward other parts of Southern California, triggering a smoke advisory for the region.

As of 5:30 p.m., the Sanderson Fire had burned an estimated 1,933 acres and was 24% contained. Cal Fire said crews managed to stop the flames from spreading at about 11 a.m.

Winds pushed smoke toward Mead Valley, Corona and Temescal Valley, Cal Fire said Sunday morning. Officials in Fullerton, Corona and Chino Valley reassured local residents that smoke in the area is coming from Riverside County, and that there were no active fires in their community.

“The FPD communications Center has received numerous 911 calls regarding the smell of smoke and ash in the Fullerton area,” the Fullerton Police Department tweeted just after 11 a.m.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory effective through Monday afternoon.

Winds on Sunday afternoon were pushing the smoke west into parts of Moreno Valley, Perris Valley, Riverside, Chino Valley, Corona, Yorba Linda and Anaheim, according to SCAQMD. Air quality officials expect winds to shift at 4 p.m., and areas near the fire, as well as communities to the south and southeast, will see the most smoke overnight.

“Smoke impacts will be heavily dependent on the progress of fire containment efforts Sunday afternoon and evening,” SCAQMD said.

Officials predict that by Monday afternoon, winds will bring the smoke southeast and east toward Hemet, San Jacinto Valley, the San Gorgonio Pass and northern portions of the Coachella Valley.

The fire could also affect air quality in parts of L.A. County, SCAQMD said.

Firefighters responded to an area south of Beaumont, near La Borde Canyon Road and Jack Rabbit Trail, after receiving reports of a wildland fire at about 1 a.m. It had burned about 300 acres by 7:45 a.m. before exploding to 1,500 acres before 11 a.m.

Officials issued an evacuation warning to fewer than a dozen homes north of Gilman Springs and south of Timothy Lane. It was lifted at around 12:45 p.m.

Gilman Springs Road was also closed between Alessandro Boulevard and Bridge Street. The California Highway Patrol urged motorists to take a detour on state routes 79 and 60.

Video tweeted by Cal Fire shows a helicopter dropping retardant over clouds of smoke billowing from flames that consumed dry brush near a road. About 130 firefighters have responded to the incident, according to the agency.

“Very difficult terrain here, a lot of hilly area, a lot of inaccessible areas out here,” Cal Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera said.

Riverside County valleys and mountains saw wind speeds of up to 57 mph overnight, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters expected the gusty offshore winds to weaken later Sunday morning but warned that fire danger will heighten at times as conditions remain dry.

The cause of the Sanderson Fire is under investigation.

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