Monday, July 15, 2024

Smoke warning goes out to residents in two counties as Highland fire burns

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As the explosive Highland fire burned thousands of acres in Riverside County, a smoke advisory through Thursday morning has been issued for area residents.

The advisory from the South Coast Air Quality Management District warns local residents who can see ash or smell smoke to avoid or limit outdoor activities.

The agency included a map of potential areas directly affected by the smoke, which extends north from the fire’s origins in the unincorporated area of Aguanga to the cities of Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar and Lake Elsinore and west to San Clemente and other communities in southern Orange County.

The Highland fire continued to burn Wednesday after igniting shortly before 12:45 p.m. Monday in the area of Highlands Road and Aguanga Ranchos Road.

The fire has burned nearly 2,500 acres and destroyed several homes in the unincorporated area of Aguanga, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. About 4,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders.

In addition, the blaze has prompted hundreds of residents to evacuate and has shut down several local highways. The blaze was 10% contained as of Tuesday night, Cal Fire reported.

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