A California brush fire that broke out in a forested basin near a Southern California dam prompted a mandatory evacuation of about 300 homes late Saturday, authorities said.
The out-of-control wildfire was reported shortly after 6 p.m. in the Prado Dam Flood Control basin and spread 300 acres by early Sunday morning with 15 percent contained.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Capt. Mike Mohler said firefighters on the ground were hampered Saturday by difficult access to the burning brush fire.
“The fire is fueled by thick brush in a riverbed that hasn’t burnt in years,” he told Fox News. “The fire is creating its own weather, so firefighters are having difficulty getting in there.”
He added the flames were about a half-mile north of a residential area along the border of the cities of Corona and Norco. A mandatory evacuation was put in place for about 300 homes in the area.
“The fire is heading toward a populated area,” Mohler said.
“This is an example of what the drought has done, these fuel conditions, normally this wouldn’t burn in this kind of area,” Mohler said, describing the spread of the fire as “aggressive.”
“I’m actually quite scared right now for my family and don’t know what to do — if I need to get back and start planning evacuations or what,” resident Pat Murphy told CNN affiliate KTLA.
The fire, which can be seen from State Routes 71 and 91, sent a large plume of smoke into the air that can be viewed from miles away. The cause of the brush fire is still under investigation.
So far, no one has been reported, injured and no homes were reported as burned.
However, Mohler said the probability of some catching on fire on a scale of one to 10 is “at a six.”
Later Sunday morning the evacuations were lifted according to the Riverside County Fire Department.