Fairview Fire in Hemet reaches 2,400 acres, evacuating thousands

Cal Fire Chief Josh Janssen said the Fairview Fire in Hemet, which has already killed two people and destroyed several homes, grew to 2,400 acres on Tuesday morning as firefighters tried to stop it.

The fire was only 5% under control, and it could have grown to cover as many as 7,000 acres.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Cal Fire spokesman Rob Roseen said, “Fire activity has been very unpredictable.”

The brush fire started around 2:00 p.m. on Monday and quickly spread to the edge of Hemet in Riverside County.

Janssen said that two people were killed and another was hurt while they were trying to get away.

Nobody knew if the people were related or lived together.

Janssen did not know how many buildings were damaged or destroyed by the fire, but Cal Fire tweeted on Monday night that seven buildings had been destroyed.

Monday afternoon, Sky5 footage showed that several homes were on fire.

Crews fighting the fire had to deal with difficult terrain, smoke, flames, and temperatures in the triple digits. It was 105 degrees in Hemet on Monday afternoon, and a long heat wave is likely to keep temperatures around that number again Tuesday.

Areas south of Stetson Avenue, north of Cactus Valley Road, west of Bautista Canyon, and east of State Street still had to leave their homes.

The Tahquitz High School at 4425 Titan Trail in Hemet was an evacuation centre. Shane Reichardt, the Riverside County Emergency Management Department spokesperson, said that people could bring small animals to the site.

The Hemet Unified School District announced that all schools would stay closed on Tuesday. Reichardt said that the District will inform students and their families about the closure.