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Fireworks blamed for Foxborough Fire

October 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Officials say fireworks are to blame for sparking a small brushfire in the foothills of Rancho Cucamonga. The fire erupted Wednesday morning near Foxborough Drive and Stageline Lane at about 12:45 a.m. and quickly spread to 250 acres.

The fire was about 60 percent contained on Thursday morning as fire crews made significant progress on the blaze.

Wind gusts more than 30 miles an hour actually helped push the flames away from homes.

People in about 100 homes were advised to evacuate.

Flames had been visible from many residents' yards in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga, as winds pushed the fire west into the mountains and canyons of Rancho Cucamonga.

About 300 firefighters were out on the lines battling the fire, and crews waited for sunrise to make air water drops. As soon as there was light, firefighters were quickly able to gain the upper hand on the wildfire.

The fire was not an immediate threat to homes, but the conditions were not favorable for firefighters. The area is notorious for strong winds, and Wednesday was exceptionally windy.

Resident Jesse Webb knows all about strongs winds, so when he was asked to evacuate, he did. He said he remembered the Grand Prix Fire that destroyed some 135 homes five years ago.

"It was pretty scary that morning too," Webb said.

This is the five-year anniversary of the Grand Prix Fire that burned nearly 60,000 acres in the same area. No one was killed in that fire, but it took about 2,000 firefighters to extinguish that massive blaze.

"I was really, really petrified. And, my kids were crying and that always hurts you. When you're trying to run around and get your family and your belonging evacuated and your children are just distraught and so scared. So, that was just awful," said Paola Yanez, an evacuee of Wednesday morning's fire.

Yanez had to evacuate during the Grand Prix Fire as well.

This time, she went to a friend's house just five miles away and watched as the fire crept closer and closer to her home.

"At one point we just saw this big plume of black smoke and it just looked like it was here. And we were just so afraid. We thought for sure it was going to be one of our homes in the neighborhood. I think that was probably the first time that I really felt this could really be our home. All of our belongings could just be gone," said Yanez.

No homes were destroyed and no one was hurt in Wednesday's fire.

"When we have conditions like this, we'll actually go down and we will have individuals on their hands and knees actually going around and making sure everything is cold. We do that to make sure that no firebrands or embers get away or get on the other side of the line that we've established around the fire itself," said Chon Bribiescas, U.S. Forest Service.

Authorities believe fireworks may have been the cause of the blaze.

If convicted, those responsible could face punishment including the cost of fighting the fire, which could be $100,000.

The Red Flag Warning will be in effect for a few more days.


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