Crews battle 5,000-acre Manzanita Fire for second day

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Firefighters made progress in halting a brush fire in the Beaumont area Tuesday as it quadrupled in size overnight. (KABC)

Firefighters made progress in halting a blaze they're calling the "Manzanita Fire" just south of Beaumont Tuesday as it quadrupled in size overnight.

It started yesterday afternoon off Highway 79 when an SUV driver went off road and crashed, sparking a fire that hopped the highway and continued to burn east. Two people in the vehicle were hospitalized with unknown injuries.

The brush fire quickly grew from 125 acres at 4 p.m. to an expansive 5,000 acres by midnight.

By mid-morning, multiple air tankers were back in the sky, dropping water and fire retardant on areas that are still burning. Although crews made significant progress, Cal Fire Capt. Chris Kemp said they will have to battle the heat, wind and low humidity while trying to increase containment lines.

"Any open line is a concern level," he said.

Law enforcement on Monday night sent out a false evacuation alert to people living all over the region, even outside of Riverside County. The sheriff's department described the mistake as a glitch. Fewer than 200 homes in a remote area off Highway 243 are actually under an evacuation warning, according to authorities.

Kemp said the current fire may indicate what's to come. "It's going to be a long summer, looks like it started early," he said.

Related Topics:
brush firefirefirefightersBeaumontRiverside County
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