Brush fire near Corona Airport explodes to 750 acres, shuts down Highway 71 in both directions

CORONA, Calif. (KABC) -- A fire that erupted near the Corona Municipal Airport has grown to 750 acres, shutting down a main road in the area, authorities said Thursday morning.

The blaze, dubbed the Airport Fire, started Tuesday night and exploded in size by Thursday as strong winds continued to whip across Southern California, leading to other fires across the region. As of 4:40 p.m. Thursday, the fire was 10% contained.

Early Thursday morning, the flames prompted the closure of State Route 71 in both directions between the 91 Freeway and Highway 83, according to CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department.

Residents of the Sonora Ranch neighborhood, which is approximately less than two miles away from the blaze, have been keeping a close eye on the flames since it started earlier this week.

Some say their concerns grew when the winds kicked up overnight.

"When the winds started kicking up last night and sounded like waves crashing up against the house, that was the concern for us," said Tahisha Cattouse. "I was still able to sleep but then this morning my husband goes 'the fire is still here and it jumped the freeway'."

An evacuation warning had been issued for several streets (Big Springs Court., Rock Ridge Court, Cheyenne Road, Homestead Road, Holster Street and Lone Tree Street). But by 10 p.m. Wednesday the warnings were lifted.

The fire was first reported Tuesday night behind the airport at the Prado Basin at less than five acres. But red flag conditions - Santa Ana winds and low humidity - kept it going and spreading to at least 25 acres by early afternoon Wednesday, then 50 acres later in the day.

No damage to structure or injuries have been reported.


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