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Fast-moving fire burns 800 acres near Corona

May 20, 2010 12:45:46 AM PDT
Firefighters are battling a fast-moving brush fire that has spread over 800 acres in the dry, brown hills near Corona.The fire started just after 12:45 p.m. along a dry creek bed south of McKinley Street and Indiana Avenue in an area near Home Gardens and just east of Corona. The fire was thought to be caused by mowing equipment.

By 11 p.m. Thursday, the fire had burned approximately 800 acres. Firefighters had the fire about 50 percent contained. Full containment of the fire was expected by Friday afternoon.

About 300 firefighters were on the ground battling the fire, with the help of four air tankers and three helitankers. As hand crews worked their way along the hills just outside Corona, air tankers dropped retardant along the fire line, attempting to create a boundary between the homes and the flames.

Personnel from the Riverside and Corona fire departments have joined Riverside County fire crews to help contain the blaze.

No homes were threatened, but fire officials say residents should be prepared to leave in case there is an evacuation.

"I was at home and suddenly I saw this smoke popping up," said resident Amar Sharma. "I'm just trying to keep an eye on things. If it gets worse then we'll have to pack up."

For the most part, the fire stayed away from the neighbor, burning a ravine just south of the homes in the hills. While the fire is closer to residents than they would like, they're confident that firefighters will keep their homes safe.

"The aircraft and the helicopters have been doing a pretty good job about keeping it from coming too close to these homes," said homeowner Warren Gillette.

Sheriff's deputies shut down access to several streets, including September Way and April Drive, to facilitate the movement of firefighting equipment.

There was no word on what sparked the blaze. No injuries have been reported.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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