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74 structures destroyed in 823-acre Calimesa Fire

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: A Cal Fire Public Information Officer at the Sandalwood Fire Command Center confirmed one fire death Friday morning. There was no immediate word on the man’s identity or where he was found.

As of 7:00 a.m. Friday, the fire had burned 823 acres and was 10% contained. The PIO said firefighting resources were being increased on Friday.

A firefighting command post was set up at Noble Creek Park off Oak Valley Road.

Evacuated animals have been taken to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus on the 500 block of South Grand Avenue.

On Thursday, public safety personnel were implementing immediate evacuations in the area of Sandalwood Drive and Seventh Street, just off of I-10, in Calimesa, where a wildfire was out of control Thursday evening.

The fire was threatening numerous structures, including an elementary school, according to reports from the scene.

As of 8:00 p.m., acreage remained at 500 acres, and no containment. Cal Fire Riverside Captain Fernando Herrera said the fire had the potential to reach up to 1,500 acres.

Cal Fire Riverside reports 74 structures have been destroyed by the fire. Five structures received moderate damage and eleven suffered minor damage.

According to Cal Fire, the blaze was reported at 1:58 p.m. on Thursday. Herrera told News Channel 3 the fire was started by a trash truck that had a heavy load catch on fire.

“The truck dumped the load on the side of the road. Vegetation caught on fire,” Herrera said.

A second fire was also burning to the south of the Calimesa incident in Moreno Valley. The Moreno Valley brush fire was burning in Reche Canyon and at a ‘critical rate of speed’, according to ABC 7’s Rob McMillan.

The Reche fire was burning 350 acres and was 10 percent contained as of 6:30 p.m., according to Cal Fire Riverside. All evacuations were later lifted at 9:00 p.m.

“2:44 PM: Doppler radar loop showed smoke plumes from the #RecheFire (near Moreno Valley) and the #SandalwoodFire (near Calimesa),” read a tweet on the fires from National Weather Service San Diego. “Winds are gusting 20-30 mph from the east-northeast with bone dry air (relative humidity only 5-9%) in place.”

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KESQ News Team

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