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Firefighters Contain Banning Brush Fire After 256 Acres Burned

Firefighters kept a close eye on vegetation after a fast moving fire burned 256 acres north of Banning.

Thick gray smoke was seen and first reported around 4:44 p.m. on Tuesday.

“There was some wind,” said Capt. Fernando Herrera, with Cal Fire. “We had gusts up to 33 mph.”

The fire was burning in a canyon on the Morongo Indian Reservation.

“We just seen a lot of smoke,” said James Leary, a witness.

At least 215 firefighters, three air tankers and three helicopters helped put it out.

“We just kept the kids inside so they wouldn’t inhale the smoke and everything,” said Sedrick Reagor, a witness.

Three bulldozers were also used.

No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.

“We did stop the forward spread very early into the fire,” said Herrera.

Only dry vegetation burned.

“It was just like a really dark fire, really big, and then in no time it just took off,” said Marguerite Quintal, a tribal member.

Officials said the fire sparked in the Hathaway Canyon at the Morongo Indian Reservation.

“I thought it was going to come over the mountain or whatever,” said Leary. “But, I don’t know. I got kind of scared that we (were) going to have to evacuate.”

There was no mandatory evacuation.

“We are at peak fire season,” said Herrera. “The potential to have large wildland fires and disastrous wildland fires, you know, do exist.”

Tribal members said it could have been a lot worse.

“I don’t have insurance on my house,” said Quintal. “I better get some.”

The fire was 100 percent contained by 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, according to Cal Fire.

Crews will remain on-site until 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

KESQ News Team

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