A brush fire ignited in Riverside, threatening residential areas, just before noon on Nov. 20. The fire started amid widespread fire concerns in Southern California during the dry season. Currently, the fire is still smoldering and producing smoke at the source.
The fire sparked near the backyards of several properties in Arlanza, a neighborhood in Riverside. Residents of the Arlanza area were recommended to evacuate. The Riverside County Department of Animal Services rescued two horses in the area.
As the fire worsened, multiple firefighting agencies arrived to assist in fighting it, including the California Fire Authority and local fire departments in neighboring counties. As many as 90 firefighters, three bulldozers, two helicopters and two water-dropping aircraft arrived on the scene to fight the fire.
According to the Riverside Fire Department, the fire started due to an off-road vehicle driving illegally near local river bottoms. The driver attempted a turn around a mulch pile, which then ignited. The occupants of the vehicle escaped uninjured.
The fire occurred under a Red Flag Warning. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Red Flag Warnings are 24-hour warnings that burning conditions may occur and lead to wildfires. Due to dry winds and low relative humidity, Red Flag Warnings have been issued across much of Southern California in recent weeks.
Residents of several Orange County cities, including Tustin and Irvine, noted drift smoke from the fire. None of the cities, however, were in danger from the blaze.
Three days after the fire started, firefighters managed to get containment to 90%, meaning that they had sequestered the blaze and prevented it from spreading using physical barriers. However, high Santa Ana winds soon led to a flare-up and the fire jumped containment lines.
Even when a fire is 100% contained, hotspots and flames can still exist within containment lines, leading to rekindling and fire that burns for anywhere from weeks to months. Recent extreme fire behavior in California has led to more instances of this, with the Arlanza fire being only one example of many.
The resurgence of the fire has led to the evacuation of some residential areas and power shut-offs in LA, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Evacuation orders were lifted on Thanksgiving morning.
The Riverside Fire Department announced over Twitter that firefighters are still actively working on mop-up and overhaul. Riverside residents are advised to drive carefully around the area of Valley Drive, the closest residential area to the fire.
Elaina Martin is a City News Intern for the fall 2021 quarter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.