Fire crews with the Riverside County Fire Department continue to battle the Fairview Fire in Hemet, which has grown to 27,319 acres and was 5% contained as of Thursday evening.
The size of the fire nearly quadrupled on Wednesday alone, when the first report had the fire at 5,000+ acres, which had it mapped at 19,377 acres.
Authorities confirmed that two residents died while trying to flee the fire, and one other person was transported to the hospital with serious burns to their arms, back and face. All three were trying to escape the wildfire in the same vehicle.
Fire crews were able to rescue several people who were trapped by the flames on Gibbel Road.
Seven structures have been completely destroyed, with several others damaged. Officials also estimated that 5,000 structures are threatened by the fire. Around 1,500 homes have been evacuated.
The Fairview Fire erupted at around 3:37 p.m. Monday and burned in light to medium vegetation at a rapid pace near Fairview Avenue and Bautista Road.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for several neighborhoods, and others were warned to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
A care and reception area for evacuees was established at Tahquitz High School, located at 4425 Titan Trail. The Red Cross opened a second shelter at the Temecula Community Recreation Center, 30875 Rancho Vista Rd.
According to the Riverside County Fire Department’s website, 33 engine companies, six air tankers and four helicopters were deployed to fight the blaze.
Officials with the Hemet Unified School District said campuses would remain closed Wednesday and until further notice as a result of the fire.
Southern California Edison notified the California Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday that “circuit activity” occurred at the approximate time that the Fairview Fire started.
Water officials have issued a boil water notice for dozens of residents on Polly Butte Road and the area east of 41477 Gibbel Road.