Rabbit Fire near Beaumont stays 7,600 acres; firefighters hope to contain it by Wednesday

A map of where the Rabbit and Highland fires stood as of Sunday morning, July 16, 2023.
A map of where the Rabbit and Highland fires stood as of Sunday morning, July 16, 2023.
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The Rabbit Fire near Beaumont, the largest of four wildfires burning in Riverside County amid the weekend's extreme heat, continued to burn Sunday but wasn't growing, fire officials said.

The fire remained at 7,600 acres and was 10% contained, according to a Sunday morning update from CalFire. Officials said they expected to fully contain it by Wednesday.

Crews were working to create containment lines as 152 structures remained under threat. None had been damaged yet.

Numerous evacuation orders or warnings remained in effect, as did closures on Highway 79 and other roads. An evacuation order was downgraded to an evacuation warning Sunday afternoon in the following areas: south of East 1st Street, east of Highway 79/Lamb Canyon, north of Seneca Springs and west of Manzanita Park Road.

A total of 88 fire engines, seven water tenders and numerous air tankers were used to limit the spread of the fire.

“Our goal is to strengthen and improve our containment lines and get around the body of the fire, most notably up in the head of the fire where we have several housing communities,” Incident Commander and Division Chief Josh Janssen said Sunday.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, as it was for the other three fires.

Work continues on Reche, Highland, Gavilan fires

The Reche Fire, which erupted in a canyon north of Moreno Valley then burned 437 acres and destroyed at least one home, was 60% contained Sunday, according to CalFire.

All evacuations had been lifted for the Reche Fire. The evacuation order impacted residences south of Reche Canyon, north of Alta Vista Drive, west of Locust Avenue and east of Reche Vista Drive. A warning was issued for north of Ironwood, east of Perris Boulevard, south of Alta Vista and west of Moreno Beach.

The Reche Fire was reported at about 1 p.m. Friday in the area of Reche Canyon Road and High Country Drive, according to the fire department.

The Highland Fire, burning around the Beaumont/Banning south of Interstate 10, was at 105 acres and 70% contained as of Sunday morning. All evacuations had been lifted.

The Highland Fire broke out around 3 p.m. Friday south of Interstate 10 along Highland Springs Avenue and Sunningdale Street, near Breckenridge Avenue, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Fire officials initially reported the blaze had consumed 225 acres, and evacuation orders and warnings were issued. But subsequent updates to mapping put the size of the fire at 105 acres.

There were no reports of any injuries or structure damage.

The Gavilan Fire, burning near the town of Perris, has been remapped from 250 to 338 acres and was 50% contained, according to an update Sunday from CalFire.

The fire was first reported at 3:28 p.m. Saturday on Gavilan Road, near Idaleona Road, in the Gavilan Hills area. Riverside County firefighters were on the scene, along with additional ground and air resources.

An evacuation warning area and road closures remained in place as of Sunday morning. By 6 p.m. Saturday, the evacuation order was expanded to east of Norbert, north of El Nido, west of Lee/San Jacinto and south of Gustin as the fire had spread to 150 acres. Road closures are in effects for Idaleona Road between Panamint Lane and Gavilan Road, and Gavilan Road between Multiview and Pinon Drive.

A care and reception center for evacuees was set up at Martin Luther King High School at 9301 Wood Road in Riverside. Large and small animals can be taken to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services shelter at 6851 Van Buren Blvd. in Jurupa Valley.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Rabbit Fire stays 7,600 acres; crews hope to contain it by Wednesday