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Families Forced Out Of Their Homes As Apple Fire Continues To Grow Past 4,000 Acres

CHERRY VALLEY (CBSLA) — Aggravated by high heat and strong winds, the Apple Fire in Cherry Valley continued to spread on Saturday after it nearly doubled in size overnight.

The fire, which is believed to have originated from three separate fires, was initially reported shortly before 5 p.m. Friday in the area of Apple Tree Lane and Oak Glen Road, on the north end of the unincorporated community that borders Beaumont, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

RCFD and CAL FIRE have issued evacuation orders for residents north of Wilson Street, east of Sunset Avenue and west of Hathaway Street; east of Oak Glen Road West of Banning Canyon Road and along Pine Beach Road; north of Cherry Valley Boulevard, west of Highland Springs, east of Beaumont Avenue; north of Gilman Street cross of Bluff Street; south of the County Line, north of Dutton Street and east of Oak Glen Road.

An evacuation warning was in place for residents located on Potato Canyon Area West to Raywood Flat.

As of 3 p.m., the Apple Fire spread to 4,125 acres and remained 0% contained.

The agencies reported one single-family dwelling and two outbuildings were destroyed by the fire near Avenida Miravilla.

Approximately 2,586 homes totaling approximately 7,800 people are under evacuation orders as properties continue to be threatened by the flames, officials said.

“I can’t thank CAL FIRE enough they came through here and laced my house with fire retardant saved my house,” Tim Daniels said.

Overnight, the fire moved east toward the Banning Bluff area, where 30 engines hunkered down to protect the neighborhood.

“An incredible sight to see that much fire going toward your home,” Mindy Romero said.

Law enforcement went door to door canvassing 400 homes after a mandatory evacuation was issued but many chose to stay.

“We loaded up everything that we needed. We have an RV and animals,” Romero said.

At the request of the fire department, Southern California Edison on Friday cut off power along Glen Oak Road and surrounding side streets to prevent potential additional fires from breaking out as burned power poles collapsed, dropping power lines.

Although investigators say it’s too soon to know the exact cause of the fire, they are looking into the possibility that the fire was intentionally set.

Some residents reported seeing an individual walking down Apple Tree Lane who they believed was intentionally setting the fires along the road.

An evacuation center, including a center for animals, was set up at Beaumont High School, located at 39139 Cherry Valley Boulevard.

Riverside County officials will continue updating the online incident fact sheet for the Apple Fire as soon as that information is available.

Please check back for updates.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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