Manzanita Fire Up to 6,300 Acres, 26% Contained

A large brush fire that's been burning for the last two days and threatening rural communities near Beaumont has burned more than 6,300 acres and was 26% contained as of Wednesday morning according to the Riverside County Fire Department. However, firefighters say they're optimistic about their ability to contain the fire soon.

Known as the Manzanita Fire, the blaze was started after a two car crash resulted in one of the cars catching fire and lighting the dry brush along the road side. Two people suffered unspecified injuries thanks to the collision. 

Evacuation warnings for Mount Edna, Poppet Flats, Silent Valley, Twin Pines and other lightly populated areas between Highland Home Road and state Route 243 were lifted Wednesday morning as authorities began allowing people to go home. 

According to Cal Fire, around 1,300 personnel were on scene for the fire, aided by several air tankers and multiple water-dropping helicopters, water tenders and bulldozers. Firefighters from agencies all over Southern California responded to help fight the fire including Beaumont, Corona, Hemet, Idyllwild, Murrieta, Riverside, and San Bernardino County. 

Cooler temps have helped firefighters somewhat as they battle the blaze, but the highs remain near triple-digit-territory, making the work much harder. 

A smoke advisory was also issued for the area by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. They warn residents that the air quality could reach unhealthy levels in areas impacted by the smoke, including much of the San Gorgonio Pass, San Jacinto, and the Coachella Valley. The advisory has been extended through Thursday morning. County health officials say residents affected by the smoke should stay indoors with their windows closed and air conditioning on. 

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