UPDATE: Bonny Fire in Aguanga Around 1,500 Acres

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

AGUANGA (CNS) – A brush fire that erupted on the edge of the Cahuilla Indian Reservation south of Aguanga expanded to 1,900 acres Friday, as crews contended with a cluster of spot fires breaking out ahead of the main blaze.

The “Bonny Fire” was reported about 2:50 p.m. Thursday in the area of Bonny and Barber lanes, and as of 5 p.m. Friday, the brusher was estimated to be roughly 1,900 acres and about 10% contained, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Officials said that multiple spot fires were occurring ahead of the blaze, as the flames pushed toward the northeast.

Shortly after 2 p.m., the fire nearly swept across Chapman and Johnston roads, prompting Cal Fire air tankers and water-dropping helicopters to unload in the immediate vicinity of several homes, protecting them from damage, according to reports from the scene.

One outbuilding and a vehicle were destroyed Friday afternoon.

Five Cal Fire air tankers and three water-dropping helicopters were rotating in and out of the area, providing support to an estimated 150 to 200 personnel on the ground, comprised of county engine and hand crews, as well as strike teams and other firefighters from the Corona Fire Department, Hemet Fire Department, Murrieta Fire & Rescue and other agencies.

Hot shot crews from Kern County were also dispatched to the area, officials said.

On Thursday evening, the head of the fire jumped a road amid light winds and moved into hills, creating challenges for ground personnel.

An evacuation order went into effect a short time later for the area south of Bailey Road, north of Running Springs Road, west of Chapman and east of Bonny. The order was expanded Friday afternoon to include all territory north of the San Diego County line, south of Bailey, west of Anza-Borrego State Park and east of Bonny.

Evacuation warnings remained in place for the area south of Tulle Peak Road, north and east of the Cleveland National Forest boundary and west of Terwilliger Road.

The area is sparsely populated.

A care and reception center was established at Hamilton High School, 57430 Mitchell Road, in Anza. The county Department of Animal Services stationed personnel at the location to assist with displaced animals.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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