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46 Fire: Evacuation Orders Lifted In Jurupa Valley

JURUPA VALLEY (CBSLA) — Evacuation orders were lifted Thursday in Jurupa Valley after a fire that started at the end of a police pursuit grew to hundreds of acres in size before crews began to gain the upper hand.

The so-called 46 Fire was the second fire to break out in Jurupa Valley over the last 24 hours.

Jurupa Fire
The 46 Fire burns in Jurupa Valley, Calif. Oct. 31, 2019. (CBS2)

CAL Fire-Riverside County firefighters responded to the 46 Fire which broke out near the 5300 block of 46th Avenue at about 12:39 a.m. The blaze raced through a riverbed, igniting ignited trees and bushes and sending embers flying.

The fire had grown to at least 300 acres and was 15 percent contained by  Thursday evening. It destroyed a wooden pallet yard and a rebar business, along with the Louis Robidoux Nature Center. It also damaged at least three homes.

At one point, about 1,200 homes and 3,600 residents were under mandatory evacuations before orders were lifted as of 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

46 Fire
The Louis Robidoux Nature Center in Jurupa Valley, Calif., was destroyed in the 46 Fire.

According to Riverside County Sheriff's officials, the blaze in the same area and around the same time that a pursuit involving a stolen vehicle came to an end in a crash. The pursuit started at 12:18 a.m. on Van Buren Boulevard and ended in the 4800 block of Crestmore Road, at Rancho Jurupa Park. One person was in custody. Authorities could not immediately confirm if the chase somehow sparked the fire.

A burning car which may have ignited the 46 Fire burns in Jurupa Valley, Calif. Oct. 31, 2019. (LoudLabs)

Firefighters were contending with up to 60 mile per hour winds as the Southland continues to get battered by Santa Ana conditions, but winds were expected to die down by Thursday night.

"Right now it's burning in a wooded area, a lot of trees, a lot of heavy fuel," CAL Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera told CBS2. "The winds themselves have been kind of moderate, kind of sporadic. There are times when the wind is very light, but we do have those gusts that come in, which poses a challenge because that causes the fire to be wind-driven."

On Wednesday morning, the 620-acre Hill Fire erupted in Jurupa Valley, threatening a mobile home park and also forcing evacuations. Those evacuations were lifted by Wednesday night. No homes were destroyed.

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