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Evacuations Ordered As Apple Fire Burns 1,720 Acres In Cherry Valley, Threatens Homes

CHERRY VALLEY (CBSLA) — A large brush fire blackened approximately 1,720 acres and threatened homes Friday in Cherry Valley, prompting the evacuation of residents from a number of neighborhoods.

The first evacuations, ordered by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, mandated residents of Avenida Mira Villa to evacuate, while those living on Oak Glen Road near Bogart Park were asked to voluntarily leave their homes.

Half an hour later, the Riverside County Emergency Management Department issued an expanded evacuation order for the Cherry Valley area north of Dutton, east of Oak Glen Road and south of the county line — originally reported as south of County Line Road.

Shortly before 9 p.m., evacuation orders were expanded to north of Gilman Street in the Banning Bluff area.

At about 9:15 p.m., the Banning Police Department started evacuating residents and issued a hard road closure of North Sunset at Wilson and North San Gorgonio at Summit in the Banning Bench area.

Another evacuation order was issued shortly after 11 p.m. from the Riverside County EMD for the area north of Cherry Valley Boulevard, west of Highland Springs and east of Beaumont Avenue.

The fires were initially reported shortly before 5 p.m. in the area of Apple Tree Lane and Oak Glen Road, on the north end of the unincorporated community that borders Beaumont, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Several residents reported to police that they saw a person walking down Apple Tree Lane who they believed was setting fires along the road.

Thirty engine crews and 10 hand crews, numbering well over 200 personnel, were sent to the location and encountered the three blazes that were said to be converging in an area with heavy vegetation.

Four Cal Fire air tankers and two water-dropping helicopters were called to begin making drops as the fire raged.

At the request of the fire department, Southern California Edison cut off power along Glen Oak Road and surrounding side streets to prevent potential additional fires from breaking out as burned power poles collapsed, dropping power lines.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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