Holy Fire containment rises to 52 percent; 22,714 acres burned in Lake Elsinore-Corona area

Monday, August 13, 2018
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The wildfire has burned 22,714 acres and destroyed at least 12 structures in the Cleveland National Forest with more than 1,500 firefighters on the front lines.

TRABUCO CANYON, Calif. (KABC) -- Fire officials on Monday announced that containment of the massive Holy Fire has reached 52 percent, offering more hope to residents of Riverside and Orange counties even as thousands of homes remained threatened by the blaze that erupted more than a week ago.

The wildfire has burned 22,714 acres and destroyed at least 12 structures in the Cleveland National Forest with more than 1,500 firefighters on the front lines.

As the fire entered its eighth day, helicopters and airplanes continued to drop fire retardant on flames burning in otherwise inaccessible terrain. In some neighborhoods, entire blocks were covered with red Phos-Chek.

WATCH: Time-lapse footage shows Holy Fire's progression

The U.S. Forest Service lifted evacuations for the areas of Horsethief Canyon in Corona, and McVicker and Rice canyons in Lake Elsinore. Cleveland National Forest officials lifted mandatory evacuations for the Machado community and voluntary evacuations for the Shoreline community. Still, approximately 2,700 properties remain threatened and 7,000 are under a mandatory evacuation order.

Fire officials lifted evacuation orders in Lake Elsinore on Sunday. More than 21,400 people were originally under evacuation orders and other areas remained behind in an effort to defend their homes. Others fled to safety.

RELATED: Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa employees fear they may not have work to return to after Holy Fire

In the seven days since flames erupted, there's only been one report of a burglar in evacuation areas, and police have made an arrest.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Riverside and Orange counties, which triggered a state law banning price gouging.

The state of California prohibits hotels from charging evacuees a price that is more than 10 percent of the regular price.

Gaining control of the flames is still the biggest concern, since the fire has delayed the start of school for many schools in the Corona-Norco Unified School District.

Mandatory evacuations:

-Mountain Street at Avocado Way in the McVicker Canyon community where the pavement ends.

- El Cariso, Rancho Capistrano, Blue Jay, Indian Canyon, Glen Eden, Sycamore Creek and Mayhew Canyon.

- All homes on the mountainside of Lake Street and southwest of Grand Avenue to Ortega Highway.

A care and reception center is available at Temescal Canyon High School, 28755 El Toro Rd Lake Elsinore CA 92532 for residents. There is also an evacuation center at the San Juan Hills High School, located at 29211 Stallion Ridge, San Juan Capistrano.

Voluntary evacuation warnings:

- Highway 74 (Ortega Highway) west from Lookout Restaurant to Nichols Institute and all connecting roads in the communities of Rancho Capistrano, El Cariso Village and Blue Jay. Residents are advised to exit west to Orange County to avoid fire equipment coming up on the Elsinore side.

Road closures remain in place at De Palma Road between Horsethief Canyon and Indian Truck Trail, along with Campbell Road at Temescal Canyon.

The Trilogy at Glen Ivy senior living community is under voluntary evacuation.

School closures:

-Corona-Norco Unified School District schools include: Corona High, Centennial High, Santiago High, Pollard High, Orange Grove High, Citrus Hills Intermediate, Corona Fundamental Intermediate, El Cerrito Middle Raney Intermediate, Home Gardens Academy, Todd Academy, Susan B. Anthony, Eisenhower Elementary, Foothill Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Garretson Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Lincoln Fundamental Orange Elementary, Stallings Elementary, Temescal Valley Elementary, Vicentia Elementary and Wilson Elementary.

-Lake Elsinore Unified School District Schools include: Luiseno School, Rice Canyon Elementary, Terra Cota Middle School and Withrow Elementary. District officials said they will be closed until Aug. 20.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued an unhealthy air quality advisory for the following portions of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties:

  • Orange County: Saddleback Valley, Capistrano Valley
  • Riverside County: Corona, Norco, Metro Riverside, Perris Valley, Lake Elsinore, Temecula Valley, Hemet, San Jacinto Valley, Banning Pass
  • San Bernardino County: Northwest San Bernardino Valley, Southwest San Bernardino Valley, Central San Bernardino Valley, East San Bernardino Valley

The fire has been burning since Monday, when it was first reported around 1:30 p.m. near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads - across the main divide between Orange and Riverside counties.

Ash from the fire has fallen as far away as Malibu and the Coachella Valley. Officials are warning people to be careful when cleaning up ash because it can be toxic.

Fire officials say they expect to reach full containment by Friday.