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Summit Fire in Banning chars 3,000 acres, destroys 1 home

May 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Firefighters are trying to stay ahead of a wildfire burning in Banning.

The Summit Fire was reported at 12:38 p.m. Wednesday near North San Gorgonio Avenue and Summit Drive.

As of 10 p.m. Thursday the fire had charred about 3,000 acres and was 55 percent contained, officials said. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The winds, high temperatures and low humidity helped fuel the fire, but the cooler overnight temperatures allowed firefighters to gain some control. The winds were expected to pick up again later in the day.

A red-flag warning was in effect Thursday. Crews are hoping to use air resources but may be limited by the wind.

The blaze destroyed one home belonging to Joe Kiener, who was able to dodge the fire.

"I keep thinking 'I lost this, I lost that.' Well, I'm alive," Kiener said.

Kiener said he will take a look inside his home later to see if there is anything he can save.

"I'm going to try to go in, see what's salvageable, probably go down to work, get a couple of big boxes and start packing things up and put it into storage," Kiener said.

Neighbors Joe Zerr and Jerry Prather helped keep the fire from spreading to several other nearby homes by using garden hoses to spray trees. Residents whose homes were saved said they're very grateful.

"Our neighbors are all good here. We're very fortunate. When I came and I saw that our neighborhood here, our little neighborhood, is completely untouched, and you look at the rest of the devastation out there, it makes me cry," said resident Kerrill Van de Poppe.

All evacuation orders were lifted in the area, according to the Riverside County Fire Department's Summit Incident page Roads are closed on Wilson St. from San Gorgonio to Sunset.


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