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2 homes destroyed in Southern California brush fire

Fire crews en route to Santa Margarita vegetation fire
Posted at 9:24 PM, Jun 13, 2021

PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) — Two homes have been destroyed in a brush fire that prompted mandatory evacuation orders for residents of the eastern Riverside County community of Pinyon Crest, authorities said. Three other homes and three outbuildings were damaged.

U.S. Forest Service firefighters said the fire started Sunday morning and has since charred 400 acres (160 hectares). Authorities previously reported the fire charred 150 acres (60 hectares). High heat, winds and rocky terrain continue to pose challenges for firefighters, authorities said.

At least one firefighter, who was not identified, has been injured, according to the U.S. Forest Service. No further details on the cause or extent of the injuries was immediately made available.

Rob Roseen, a spokesperson for CAL Fire/Riverside County Fire Department, said an evacuation center was opened at a school in the mountain community of Idyllwild and a shelter was set up to receive large and small animals.

Fire officials said the blaze prompted the closure of Highway 74 between Highway 371 and Palowet Drive in Palm Desert. The cause of the fire in under investigation.

The fire comes as the region is bracing for soaring temperatures. The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued an excessive heat warning starting Monday.