JURUPA VALLEY (CNS) – A pair of brush fires that broke out Wednesday in the Santa Ana River bottom between Jurupa Valley and Riverside blackened a total of three acres and prompted closure of a bridge before crews stopped them.
The non-injury fires were reported at about noon near the Market Street bridge linking Jurupa Valley and Riverside, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The agency said multiple engine crews from the county and city of Riverside, as well as the Corona Fire Department, were sent to the location and encountered flames moving at a slow rate through heavy vegetation.
Sheriff’s deputies and Riverside police officers shut down the bridge as a public safety precaution, snarling traffic flowing north and south. No homes or other structures were threatened.
With the help of Cal Fire water-dropping helicopters, firefighters stopped the forward rate of spread on both fires at about 2:45 p.m. One fire burned an acre, while the other consumed roughly two acres, according to officials at the scene.
County Emergency Management Department staff attempted to evacuate an unspecified number of itinerants from homeless encampments between the bridge and the San Bernardino County line. However, it was unknown how much success they had.
There was no word on how the fires might have started. The river bottom is dotted with transient encampments, where cooking, warming and debris fire are common year-round.
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