Blaze Chars More Than 200 Acres in Riverside Wildlife Refuge

RIVERSIDE (CNS) - A wildfire that broke out today in a preserve in south Riverside blackened about 200 acres and damaged a residential deck before it was partially contained.

The non-injury blaze broke out for unknown reasons about 12:30 p.m. on the east side of Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, facing Speyside Road, according to the Riverside Fire Department.

By 2:45 p.m., crews from Riverside, Corona, Riverside County and other agencies, with the aid of Cal Fire water-dropping helicopters, had the blaze more than 50 percent contained and stopped its forward spread.

One property on Haddington Drive sustained minor damage when embers flew onto the rear deck, burning the wood, according to reports from the scene. Firefighters doused the flames and removed the charred pieces.

Flames also reached shrubs and a palm tree adjacent to another property, but the home itself was not damaged. At one point, Riverside motorcycle police officers were assisting fire crews with hosing down shrubbery adjacent to homes on Lochmoor Drive.

A voluntary evacuation warning was issued for residents in the area of Lochmoor and Kirkmichael Circle, but the advisory was canceled an hour later.

Police shut down Central Avenue, between Canyon Crest and Lochmoor drives, as a safety precaution.

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is about 1,400 acres in size and features a riparian waterway, bike and hiking trails through a series of rocky hills. The last significant fire occurred there on July 4, 2013, burning 130 acres in the middle of the park.

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