A vegetation fire burning in Thermal grew from four acres to 30 acres over the span of a few hours. “They got on scene, reported a couple of acres on fire. Wildfire were making an advance, [crews made] an aggressive attack on the fire,” said Cal Fire Information Officer Richard Cordova.
An evacuation order has been issued for nearby residents, however, it was lifted for some areas by the evening.
66th Ave between Fillmore Street and Tyler Street is still closed.
The fire was first reported at 1:36 p.m. on the 87500 block of 66th Avenue. There are heavy brush and mulch piles burning.
Cal Fire said more than 100 firefighters on scene to battle the fire at one point.
A spokesperson for Cal Fire told News Channel 3 that the evacuation order is for residents living north of Avenue 68 and west of Fillmore. As of 8:00 p.m., evacuation orders were lifted except at Polk St. between Ave 66 and Martinez Road.
18 homes in the area were evacuated, leaving 60 residents displaced. Many were forced to bring their personal belongings with them. “I brought my clothes, my school iPad, my charger, my phone and my brother and my other brother,” said evacuated resident Natalie Riofrio.
A care and reception site has been established at Desert Mirage High School at 86150 Avenue 66 in Thermal. Staff and other organizations provided resources and snacks for the time being.
“We’re able to offer the space for them to cool down and you know, have a seat. Maybe collect some of their thoughts," said Bea Gonazalez with the Coachella Valley Unified School District. "Granola bars and you know just dry foods. I’m sure as the night progresses, you we are able to figure out how many folks would be coming here. I guarantee you that we could reach out to community members and we’ll have food and everything else.”
At this time, no injuries have been reported.