Fairview fire: Emergency declared in areas surrounding Hemet with 2 killed, evacuation orders in place
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: The Fairview fire near Hemet has been ravaging since Monday, September 5, following which an emergency has been declared in Riverside County. The wildfire has already engulfed 19377 acres as of Wednesday, September 7 according to KLTV. It continues to flare as firefighters try to combat it.
According to officials, the conflagration broke out on Monday at 3.37 pm when it had set ablaze light to medium vegetation and was quickly spreading. Since then, firefighters have continued to battle the blaze. There have been two casualties so far, and they are yet to be identified. They were found inside their vehicle, trying to escape the wildfire, but to no avail. "The identifies of those individuals cannot be released at this time because they cannot be positively identified based upon the condition in which they were found," said Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Brandi Swan.
A third person was found outside the vehicle with severe burns. Identified as an adult female, she is expected to survive. In an update on the situation, the Sergeant added, "We have gone to over 3,700 homes to make notifications, and I would say that about a quarter of those people are actually leaving."
Speaking to KTLA, Captain Richard Cordova from Cal Fire said, "There are a lot of residents out there who are choosing to stay. Unfortunately, we can’t go in there and physically remove them, but once they are out we can keep them out. I just wish people would adhere to that evacuation order because it's for [their] safety." Reportedly, the containment remains at merely 5 percent despite the nonstop efforts of firefighters deployed at the site.
What started as a non-threatening fire across 20 acres when firefighters first responded to the scene has now grown exponentially. The cause behind the horrific inferno-like blaze is yet to be determined as investigations are underway.
The western states of the country, including California, have been experiencing brutal heat waves with temperatures soaring. The Hemet region recorded a temperature of 104 degrees on Monday afternoon, hours before everything was set ablaze.
With the rapidly intensifying flames and oppressively hot temperatures, the Riverside County Fire Department had ordered evacuations for most of the areas surrounding the Hemet Valley, including South of Cactus Valley Road, north of Minto Way, north of Red Mountain Road, east of Sage Road and west of the US Forest Service boundary. The evacuated areas also include West of Wilson Way, south of Highway 74, east of Fairview Avenue and north of Stetson, as well as South of Stetson Avenue, north of Cactus Valley Road, west of Bautista Canyon and east of State Street. Tahquitz High School in Hemet is serving as an evacuation center for the region.