Evacuation orders lifted as 200-acre Cerritos Fire in Nuevo area reaches 25% containment

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Firefighters respond to the Cerritos Fire in Nuevo on Dec. 3, 2020. (CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department)

Firefighters respond to the Cerritos Fire in Nuevo on Dec. 3, 2020. (CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department)

Riverside County residents were allowed to return to their homes after a brush fire burning in the Nuevo area forced evacuations Thursday.

The Cerritos Fire was reported around 2 a.m. in the 23900 block of California Avenue, where arriving firefighters noted flames burning at a moderate rate of spread. 

By 8 a.m., the blaze was holding at 200 acres with 10% containment, according to Cal Fire/ Riverside County Fire Department. 

The fire’s acreage didn’t grow throughout the day, but containment rose to 25% by 4:30 p.m., after air resources worked to strengthen lines.

At that point, all evacuation orders and warnings were lifted.

Earlier, a mandatory evacuation order had been in place for residents on California Avenue, north of Tres Cerritos Avenue, in the west Hemet area. Those who live on Tres Cerritos Avenue and Los Rancherias Road in the west Hemet area had been under an evacuation warning.

The blaze erupted as Southern California was under a red flag warning and firefighters were working to extinguish the flames as 35 mph winds blew through the area.

Elsewhere in Riverside County, firefighters were battling a 750-acre brush fire in the Corona area that forced the closure of Highway 71 in both directions, from Highway 91 to Highway 83.

In neighboring Orange County, a brush fire that started in Silverado Canyon burned thousands of acres and forced mandatory evacuations.

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