The Apple Fire in Riverside County, California is now more than 20,000 acres in size and thousands have been evacuated from the blaze. Officials believe that arson may have caused the fire, which started as two individual fires that later merged into one.
Witnesses Reported Seeing a Man Starting Fires that May Have Grown Into the Apple Fire
The fire started in Cherry Valley along Oak Glen Road in Riverside County, along the 9000 block of Glen Road, around 4:55 p.m. on Friday, July 31. It started as two fires that later merged into one.
The fire is now 20,516 acres in size and 0% contained. The northern and eastern edges are in rugged terrain that is harder to access, NBC Los Angeles reported. At one point the fire was reported to be 12% contained, but the U.S. Forest Service revised that to 0%.
Officials said that the fire may have been caused by arson, ABC 7 reported. The two smaller fires that started on Friday and merged into one are suspected to be cases of arson.
Bryan Quan, a resident in Banning, told ABC 7: “Honestly, I’m angry that somebody could intentionally light this. It burns me.”
Around the time that the fires started, witnesses had called 911 to report seeing a man walking along Apple Tree Lane and starting fires around 5 p.m. on Friday, NBC Los Angeles reported. A third possible arson fire was also reported in the same area, and that one burned from 60 to 80 acres.
Evacuation Orders & Maps
According to the Riverside County’s Incident Page for the fire, evacuation orders were in place for the following regions in the map of the evacuation zones below. Red is under an evacuation order and yellow is under an evacuation warning. You can see the full map here. This map will be updated by emergency management as evacuation orders change.
Evacuation centers are set up in the following locations:
- Beaumont High School at 39139 Cherry Valley Boulevard, Beaumont, California (Beaumont Ave. and Cherry Valley Bl.)
- An animal evacuation center is also set up at Beaumont High School, with Animal Control on the scene.
- The American Red Cross is helping some evacuees by putting them up at hotels, NBC Los Angeles reported.
San Bernardino County is updating evacuation details on Twitter here.
The San Gorgonio Wilderness is closed due to the fire, Inciweb reported.
How to Stay Updated on the Fire
The following sources will help you stay updated on the fire.
- Riverside County Fire Department‘s Apple Fire Incident Page
- Riverside County Emergency Management webpage
- Cal Fire Riverside County’s Twitter Page
- Cal Fire San Bernardino’s Twitter Page
- Riverside Emergency Management’s Twitter Page
- Banning Police Department’s Twitter page (not being frequently updated)
- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Twitter Page
- Apple Fire Inciweb page
No injuries have been reported from the fire. One home has reportedly been destroyed.