Highland Fire in Aguanga prompts hundreds to evacuate

AGUANGA, Calif. (KABC) — Firefighters on Tuesday battled two wildfires in Riverside County as red flag warnings were extended for many parts of Southern California, triggered by strong winds and dry conditions.

Highland Fire burns in Aguanga

A fire that erupted in Aguanga had scorched an estimated 1,219 acres, but by Tuesday morning, it doubled in size to 2,200 acres and triggered more evacuation orders. It remained 0% contained.

Three structures have been destroyed by the Highland Fire and six others were damaged. It’s unclear if they were homes or another type of building.

The blaze was reported just before 1 p.m. Monday in the area of Highlands and Aguanga Ranchos roads, near the junction of Highways 79 and 371, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Later in the afternoon, the flames crossed Highway 371, moving west-southwest, heading toward residences in the 45100 and 45800 blocks of Highway 371, according to officials.

Highland Fire evacuations

The Highland Fire prompted evacuation orders to be issued for the area encompassing Boulder Vista Street to the west, Becker Lane to the east, Cottonwood Creek to the north, Golden Eagle Drive to the south, Highway 371 to the south, Soreson to the west, and County Line Road to the north.

On Tuesday, evacuation orders were handed down for the area north of the San Diego County Line, south of Highway 79, east of Forest Route 8S07 and west of Crosley Truck Trail.

An evacuation warning was issued for the area encompassing Shirley Way to the west, the Vail Lake Resort to the east, David Street to the north, Pueblo Road to the south, Cahuilla Tribal Reservation Boundary to the west, County Line Road to the north, Cleveland National Forest to the north, Watts Road to the south, Esplendida Way, Avenida Bravura, Pauba Road to the east, De Portola Road, and Round Top Canyon Road to the west.

CHP officers shut down Highway 79 at County Line Road for public safety. The 79/371 junction was also closed, and motorists were being turned around.

Highland Fire evacuation map

Cal Fire created an interactive map of the evacuation zones for the Highland Fire.

A map of the evacuation zones can be found here.

Brush fire near Mt. Rubidoux

Meanwhile, another fire that started Monday night near Mt. Rubidoux burned about 30 acres. No structures were threatened by the flames.

No injuries were reported, but officials said two hikers were safely evacuated from the area after it ignited.

Winds bated enough overnight to allow fire crews to get a handle on the blaze. Forward progress was eventually stopped.

Red flag warnings in Southern California

The Santa Ana winds that whipped across the region contributed to the elevated fire danger, but the cause of both the fires remains under investigation.

Meanwhile, a red flag warning was extended until 2 p.m. Tuesday for many areas.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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