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By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Josh Stotler

October 31, 2023 (Aguanga) – Evacuation orders have been issued for an estimated 4,000 residents of 1,300 homes due to the Highland Fire in Aguanga, within a few miles of the San Diego County line in Riverside County.  At least three structures have been destroyed and six others damaged, according to Riverside Fire Department spokesperson Jeff La Russo.

ECM reporter Josh Stotler, at the scene this afternoon, says the wind-whipped fire is being battled by fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and ground crew forces that have doubled in recent hours.  Hundreds of firefighters are now battling the fire, which swelled to 2,200 acres overnight fueled by Santa Ana winds. Cal Fire has not updated the acreage since this morning.

“The winds are pushing it west,” he says, adding that there are no evacuations in San Diego County currently.  But he indicates the winds make this fire unpredictiable, and notes, ”Still no containment number yet, if any.”

A SIG alert is in effect for Highway 79, which is fully closed between the San Diego/Riverside County lines and Sage Road.  Highway 371is also closed  at 79 due to the wildfire, the CHP incident page reports.

Some 300 customers lost power early today due to a public power safety shutoff imposed by Southern California Edison, Associated Press reports.

Firefighters may catch a break tonight after 8 p.m., when the National Weather Services’ wind advisory for the region is expected to expire.


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