Firefighters on Saturday continued to battle the Apple fire in Riverside County that has burned 4,125 acres in the Cherry Valley area, destroyed one home and prompted evacuations in some neighborhoods.

The vegetation fire was reported at 4:55 p.m. Friday, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. As of 3 p.m. Saturday, there was zero containment.

More than 300 firefighters, several helicopters and air tankers responded to the fire. Firefighters were battling the blaze in triple-digit temperatures that prompted the National Weather Service to issue an extreme heat warning.

Evacuation orders are in place for residents north of Cherry Valley Boulevard, west of Highland Springs and east of Beaumont Avenue. They also include residents north of Gilman Street in the Banning Bluff area.

New evacuation orders were put in place Saturday afternoon in Banning for residents north of Wilson Street, east of Sunset Avenue and west of Hathaway Street.

An evacuation warning was issued about 11:15 a.m. for San Bernardino County residents of the Potato Canyon area west to Raywood Flat, authorities said.

An evacuation center was opened at Beaumont High School for people and animals.

Fernando Herrera, a public information officer with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Riverside County Fire Department, said Friday that about 1,000 residents had been ordered to evacuate. He said open land with thick vegetation has provided "quite a bit of fuel for that fire to continue to burn (and) have a lot of intensity."

He said the fire was burning very close to homes.

"A lot of people's backyards were on fire," Herrera said. "It ran in between homes and around homes. It definitely was very threatening. We could have lost homes, but we brought in a massive amount of ground resources to do structure defense, protect the life and property of all these residents."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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