'Southern California is ready to burn': Sierra fire scorches Fontana


About 200 San Bernardino and Riverside county firefighters battled a blaze Sunday that engulfed hundreds of acres and threatened buildings in Fontana — the latest in a series of fires raging across Southern California.

The fire had grown to 400 acres and was 80% contained as of 9 p.m., according to Eric Sherwin, public information officer for the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

Meanwhile, to the north, in Fresno County, the Basin Fire was one of the state's two largest blazes growing this week amid fears of searing temperatures across inland parts of California.

The Fontana Fire, also known as the Sierra Fire, was first reported about 2:30 p.m. south of the 10 Freeway near Sierra and Jurupa avenues. Sherwin said the fire was climbing a hillside and was fanned by gusts of wind once it reached the top.

Though no damage was reported Sunday, officials warned that buildings could be at risk, but stopped short of telling people to evacuate. By late Sunday night, the threat to buildings had “mitigated,” and firefighters were on the scene to strengthen containment lines, according to Sherwin.

Two firefighters were taken to a local hospital with minor injuries, he said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Sherwin urged caution amid record-high temperatures in parts of the state, where dry grass can easily catch fire and spread. He said even a spark from a lawnmower could be enough to ignite a bushfire.

“Southern California is set to burn. These fires are everywhere,” he said. “Anything we can do to prevent a fire from starting is to minimize the risk of a fire that could pose a threat to homeowners.”

A fire broke out in Riverside County's Moreno Valley on Saturday and burned more than 200 acres. By Sunday, more than a dozen fires had burned across the state, according to Cal Fire.

The largest fire was in Fresno County, where the Basin Fire, which broke out Wednesday, had destroyed nearly 12,000 acres and was not contained by Sunday night, according to Cal Fire.

Also in the Central Valley, the Fresno June Lightning Complex fire that broke out Monday has burned more than 10,600 acres, according to the latest update from Cal Fire. Officials had that fire 61% contained as of Sunday night.


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