Firefighters had the fatal Sandalwood Fire 100% contained Monday evening as they continued to battle the blaze that destroyed dozens of residences in Calimesa and prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
Authorities said the fire ignited when a garbage truck driver dumped burning trash in the area of Calimesa Boulevard and Sandalwood Drive Thursday afternoon, and the flames spread to nearby vegetation and into the Calimesa Mobile Home Park.
The blaze scorched 1,011 acres, or 1.58 square miles, as firefighters worked to extinguish the wind-driven blaze for four days.
A total of 74 structures were destroyed in the fire, five were moderately damaged and 11 sustained minor damage, according to fire officials.
All evacuation orders were lifted Monday morning, but fire officials said the Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park remains uninhabitable and closed due to unsafe conditions, according to Cal Fire.
Cal Fire urged residents to be cautious returning home to the area north of mobile park, and warned that gas services were interrupted for the South Mesa Mobile Home Park Sunday.
Community members can call the Sandalwood Fire hotline at 951-940-6985 for updated information. To report people who are missing or unaccounted for in the fire, call the sheriff’s dispatch non-emergency line at 951-776-1099.
With immediate evacuee needs met, the #RedCross #SandalwoodFire shelter at Mesa Grande Academy will close today (10/13) at 2:00 p.m. Red Cross caseworkers will continue to work with those affected by the fire as they begin the recovery process.
— Red Cross DTS (@RedCrossDTS) October 13, 2019
#SandalwoodFIRE **FINAL UPDATE** The fire is now 100% contained. Final size, 1,011 acres.
— CAL FIRE Riverside (@CALFIRERRU) October 15, 2019