- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2020

NORCO, Calif. (AP) - A wind-driven wildfire triggered evacuations and briefly threatened hundreds of homes Tuesday in an equestrian community in the inland region of Southern California, where little rain has fallen this winter.

The fire erupted shortly before 10 a.m. in a river bottom in Norco and quickly spread to 175 acres (70.82 hectares) but by afternoon winds had died down and firefighters had stopped the blaze from spreading, Cal Fire Riverside County said.

The blaze was 20 percent contained Tuesday night.

Two people suffered from smoke inhalation but weren’t hospitalized and several homes had damaged fences or outbuildings, fire officials said.

About 500 homes and some 1,500 people were affected by mandatory and voluntary evacuations, Cal Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera told KTLA.



However, some evacuation orders were lifted Tuesday night and the others were downgraded to evacuation warnings.

More than 200 firefighters and several helicopters were dispatched to the community of about 26,000 people about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Winds were initially gusting at 30-40 mph (48-64 kph) before dying down.

There was no immediate word on what sparked the fire.

Southwestern California just experienced one of the driest January-February combinations in recorded history, according to the National Weather Service.

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