300-acre California wildfire backs away from homes as crews work to contain it
Monday, November 6th 2006, 3:59 pm
By: News On 6
RIALTO, Calif. (AP) A wind-driven wildfire scorched more than 600 acres of brush on Monday, torched an industrial yard and forced the evacuation of two schools before firefighters gained the upper hand, officials said.
The blaze 60 miles east of Los Angeles had threatened 100 homes earlier in the day, but firefighters corralled the fire enough to call off firefighting aircraft within several hours, fire officials said.
The fire was at 640 acres, about 1 square mile, and 30 percent contained, but full containment was expected by Tuesday morning, officials said. But firefighters remained on edge because the erratic wind, which was gusting to 40 mph, could bring the blaze back to life.
``There is a danger of sparks and embers blowing downwind that could restart things,'' said Steve Hansen, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
No injuries were reported. The cause was under investigation.
The fire began Monday morning and burned fiercely for a time on vacant land across a street from a neighborhood, prompting officials to urge several businesses to evacuate. No homes were damaged.
The fire burned stacks of pallets in an adjacent industrial area, causing an estimated $1 million in damage.
An elementary school and a middle school were evacuated because of the smoke, which was carried by the wind all the way to the coast, about 80 miles away. More than 50 children were evacuated from both schools, a school official said.
The fire was at the foot of notoriously windy Cajon Pass near the junction of Interstates 215 and 15. I-15 is the main road from Southern California to Las Vegas.