SILVER FIRE UPDATE: Evacs Lifted in Some Communities, Fire Estimated at 17,500 Acres

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Silver Fire
The Silver Fire continued to burn from the west to the east on Thursday at 8 p.m. when this photo captured the flames on the mountains as visible from Haugen Lehman Way. Banning-Beaumont Patch Photo by Renee Schiavone.

“Only local residents in these affected areas will be allowed to repopulate with an access pass until further notice,” an incident report issued by the Riverside County Fire Department at 5 p.m. Friday stated.

 

“We still had some flareups today on the mountain… power lines down,” Ventura County Fire Captain Steve Kaufmann told Patch. “Until it’s safe to repopulate the other areas, the evacuation orders are in place.”

 

The estimated size of the Silver Fire has grown to 17,500 acres, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

 

“We have a bunch of safety issues in the fire area itself,” he said.  “Most of them are along Highway 243 and then in some of the residential areas up in the Twin Pines and Silent Valley area.”

 

“We’re seeing trees that are down in the road, power lines that are down,” he said.  “Because the fire when it went through was a very dirty burn, and what that means is not all the fuels burned when the fire went through the area in a lot of the burn area so we are seeing a lot of hot spots where we’re having flare ups.”

 

 

To date, more than two dozen homes are known to have burned to the ground, with 26 residences considered lost, along with a commercial property, Cal Fire reported.  Two other buildings are listed by Cal Fire as “damaged.”  539 structures remain threatened.

 

Six people have been injured in the fire, five of them firefighters.  One man suffered severe burns within the first hour of the fire, Patch has confirmed.

 

The fire was first reported at 2:05 p.m. Aug. 7 near Wolfskill Truck Trail and Mt. Edna Road, in the mountains northwest of Poppett Flats and south of Banning.

 

The fire spread at a rapid rate, burning through an estimated 5,000 acres within the first four hours.

 

“In the first hour, we estimate that this fire burned an excess of 3,000 acres,”  Night operations Fire Chief Tony Mecham said Thursday.

 

More than 1,600 firefighters are assigned to the incident Friday.

 

Highway 243 remains closed to the public between Banning and Poppet Flats.