• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Lightning strikes spark Riverside County fires

John Ventuleth from Hemet sent in a photo from Red Mountain Road at Empty Saddle Trail.
July 15, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Lightning strikes from a severe Riverside County thunderstorm started several brush fires Thursday.

A brush fire near Temecula was believed to be caused by lightning. The fire was dubbed the "Skinner Fire" by the Riverside County Fire Dept.

The Skinner Fire had burned approximately 711 acres and was about 15 percent contained by 11:55 p.m. Thursday. The fire was burning near Crown Valley Rd. and De Portola Rd. just northeast of Lake Skinner County Park. The fire was reported at 3:42 p.m. Thursday.

Two brush fires near the city of Sage were thought to be caused by lightning.

One fire near Sage was dubbed the "Saddle Fire" by the Riverside County Fire Dept. The fire was burning in heavy brush, located near Oak Glen Rd. and Red Mountain Rd. It had burned approximately 70 acres and was 80 percent contained by 11:55 p.m. Thursday. The fire was reported at 3:47 p.m.

A second brush fire started around the same time as the Saddle Fire in the same area. The second brush fire near Sage was dubbed the "Cactus Fire." It had burned approximately 350 acres and was 10 percent contained by 11:55 p.m.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered in the area of Cactus Valley Rd. (SR3), Lemm Rd. and Old Ranch Rd. for about one hour, but those orders were lifted. However, residents who had already evacuated the area face the possibility of not being allowed to return to their homes until morning, according to authorities.

An evacuation center has been set up at Hemet High School, 41701 Stetson Ave. in Hemet.

A lightning strike was also thought to be responsible for house fires in Lake Elsinore, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. That was later amended: One mobile home was struck by lightning, causing a fire at Honey Lane and 11th St. Two sheriff's deputies suffered minor injuries while rescuing an elderly woman from the trailer.

The Riverside County Fire Dept. said dozens of small fires were started by lightning as a severe thunderstorm moved across the county Thursday evening. Hail was also reported, and sporadic flash-flood warnings were issued.

A viewer from Perris reported to Eyewitness News that a small tornado touched down in his back yard.

Track the thunderstorm with ABC7's Live Mega Doppler 7000 HD


Load Comments