FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Cal Fire reported the Wolf fire had burned 75 acres as of 7:15 a.m. Friday two miles southeast of Banning and was 25% contained. Evacuation warnings remain in place for affected areas and firefighting resources remain on scene working to strengthen containment lines.
The blaze was possibly ignited by target shooting. It broke out Thursday evening burning close to 20 acres in rugged terrain in under an hour.
The non-injury Wolf Fire was reported at 5:08 p.m. in the area of Wolfskill Truck Road and Highland Springs Avenue, just west of the community of Poppet Flats and the western boundary of the San Bernardino National Forest, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The first arriving engine company reported approximately 2 to 3 acres of vegetation burning at a rapid rate of spread. As of 9:30 p.m., Cal Fire says the fire had burned 75 acres.
Due to inhospitable terrain, crews encountered difficulties reaching the location, and a Cal Fire air tanker was initially alone in trying to contain the wind-driven brush fire.
Witnesses reported several men target shooting in the area at the time and racing away in a dark-colored pickup truck when the flames started, officials said.
No homes or other structures were immediately threatened.
This is the third fire to spark up on the west side of Riverside County on Thursday afternoon. In Calimesa, firefighters were battling a 500-acre fire that had destroyed multiple homes at a trailer park.
Near Moreno Valley, a wind-driven blaze blackened approximately 350 acres.
Cal Fire said the Reche Fire was 350 acres as of 7:15 a.m. Friday morning, and 40% contained.
The fire’s forward spread had been stopped. Cal Fire said resources remained on scene to strengthen containment lines.