2 homes destroyed as Flats Fire scorches 400 acres, prompts mandatory evacuations in Pinyon Crest area

Local news

A wildfire that broke out in Riverside County Sunday morning and destroyed two homes has prompted mandatory evacuations for the Pinyon Crest area, officials reported.

The blaze, dubbed the Flats Fire, was reported at 11:15 a.m. in the Santa Rosa Mountains near the communities of Pinyon Crest, Pinyon and Alpine Village, officials from the San Bernardino National Forest reported.

As of 5:30 p.m., the blaze which was dubbed the Flats Fire, had burned 400 acres and was 10% contained, according to officials from the San Bernardino National Forest. More than 400 firefighters were on scene battling the fire, including personnel from CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

“The forward rate of spread has been stopped, but high heat, winds and rocky terrain continue to present challenges for firefighters,” officials said in an incident report.

Two homes have been destroyed by the fire, officials said, while three homes and three outbuildings were also damaged.

One firefighter was injured and taken to a local hospital for medical evaluation.

In addition to the mandatory evacuations for Pinyon Crest, evacuation warnings were issued for Pinyon and Alpine Village.

Highway 74 is closed between Highway 371 near Garner Valley and Palowet Drive in Palm Desert. Officials said residents are allowed beyond the Highway 371 closure up to Ribbonwood Drive.

The Cactus Spring Trail and Pinyon and Ribbonwood campgrounds have also been closed as a result of the fire.

An evacuation center was set up at Idyllwild School located at 26700 Highway 243.

Small animals can be taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus located at 72050 Petland Place in Thousand Palms. Big and small animals can be taken to the Animal Services facility in San Jacinto located at 581 S. Grand Ave.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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