Chico Fire: Evacuations lifted, containment at 70% on 25-acre brush fire south of Riverside

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The Chico Fire burns in Riverside County, southwest of Mead Valley, on April 19, 2020, in a photo released by Cal Fire Riverside.

The Chico Fire burns in Riverside County, southwest of Mead Valley, on April 19, 2020, in a photo released by Cal Fire Riverside.

Evacuation orders have been lifted in a small brush fire that broke out near homes in a remote area south of Riverside Monday afternoon, officials said.

The flames were reported around 1:30 p.m. near the corner of Gavilan Road and Bonita Drive in the area of the Harford Springs Reserve, southwest of Mead Valley and east of Lake Mathews, Cal Fire Riverside said in tweet.

Fire officials had initially said the blaze was spreading rapidly. But by 10 p.m., it was about 25 acres and 70% contained.

The incident was dubbed the Chico Fire.

About two dozen homes were evacuated as of 2:40 p.m., when firefighters said the flames had the potential to spread rapidly. But all evacuation orders were lifted at about 5 p.m.

Gavilan Road would remain closed between Cajalco and Idaleona roads until further notice, fire officials said.

The flames erupted as high temperatures and low humidity paired with gusty winds to bring elevated fire danger to several parts of Southern California, including the Riverside County mountains.

The heat reached 91 degrees Monday in Riverside, and 90 degrees in Lake Elsinore, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters expected the weather to cool Tuesday.

Around 100 firefighters were assigned to the blaze as of Monday afternoon, with crews attacking the flames from the air and on the ground.

Crews were expected to remain on scene overnight in hopes of reaching full containment.

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