The Fairview fire near Hemet continued to grow overnight, topping 27,000 scorched acres by Friday morning, Sept. 9, as officials braced for shifting winds with Hurricane Kay’s anticipated arrival, authorities said.
In a morning update, fire officials tabbed the fire’s size at 27,319 acres, noting that “shifting winds continued to enhance fire movement in all areas of the incident.”
Fire crews planned to continue structure defense and contingency operations around communities, while establishing direct fire lines where possible along road and trail systems on the fire’s perimeter, officials added.
As of Friday morning, 2,153 fire personnel were battling the blaze, nearly double the amount from Thursday after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency, freeing up more resources to fight the fire, which has killed two people, injured one, destroyed 12 structures and damaged two others.
The blaze was first reported about 3:40 p.m. Monday in Bautista Canyon and has burned in areas with little or no fire history in the past 20-plus years, officials said.
Within the next 24 hours, “the fire will have very high potential to move to the west due to strong 40-plus mph east winds and possible extreme downslope winds coming off the surrounding 10,000-foot peaks,” officials said.
The fire could be dampened by heavy rains from thunderstorms, officials said — but the storm could bring lightning and flash flooding. Rain is forecast for as early as Friday, Sept. 9.
Fire crews had previously estimated full containment of the fire by Monday, but it was unclear whether that projection still held on Friday.
Evacuation orders remained in place for all residents south of Cactus Valley Road, north of Minto Way and Red Mountain Road, west of the U.S. Forest Service boundary and east of Sage Road, south of Diamond Valley Lake, east of Washington Street, north of Borel Road, east of Rancho California Road, east of Anza Road, north of Temecula Parkway, northwest of Highway 371 and west of Springbrook Road.
Warnings that evacuation orders come come were in place for residents east of Red Mountain Road, south of Minto Way and Red Mountain Road, west and north of Stanley Road and east of Sage Road.
Evacuation centers remained open at Tahquitz High School, 4425 Tital Trail, and at the Temecula Community Center, 30875 Rancho Vista Road. Campuses within the Hemet Unified School District and the Menifee Unified School District were closed on Friday.
Southern California Edison has filed a report regarding “circuit activity” in the area of the ignition site around the time the fire was reported, but fire officials have not yet named a cause and were still probing what started the fire. SCE has not elaborated on its report.