Cranston Fire In California
The Cranston fire in California has forced the evacuation of more than 3200 people. In this image: The Sierra Hotshots, from the Sierra National Forest, are responding on the front lines of the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite in this US Forest Service photo from California, U.S. released on social media on July 22, 2018. Reuters/USDA Handout

More than 2,174 homes and 3,200 people were evacuated due to a massive fire, which started off around noon east of the Cranston fire station in southwest Riverside County, California, on Wednesday.

According to latest reports, the fire has spread over 4,700 acres with five percent containment, destroying five structures as well.

Evacuations were conducted by the Riverside Sheriff's station in Idyllwild, Apple Canyon Area, Lake Hemet Area, Mountain Center Community, Hurkey Creek Area and Camp Scherman Girlscout Camp. An evacuation center was set up at Banning High School in Banning, California.

The National Weather Service office in San Diego tweeted that the fire was producing a “Pyrocumulonimbus (PyroCb) cloud” that topped nearly 50,000 feet.

A smoke advisory was issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

“Air quality may reach Unhealthy levels or higher in areas directly impacted by smoke. Areas of direct smoke impacts and Unhealthful air quality may include portions of: Perris Valley, Anza, Hemet/San Jacinto Valley, Banning Pass and Coachella Valley in Riverside County," it said.

Staff from USFS San Bernardino National Forest, CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department, Idyllwild Fire Protection District and Riverside County Sheriff’s Office are working to control the fire. Other agencies cooperating in the operation include American Red Cross, Bureau of Land Management, CAL-FIRE Inyo-Mono-San Bernardino Unit, California Highway Patrol and Riverside County Emergency Management Department.

The fire, which began in 25 acres close to highway 74 between Hemet and Mountain Center, soon spread to over 200 acres within a span of hours.

Many roads were closed due to the fire including Highway 74 from City of Hemet to Lake Hemet and Highway 243 from Banning to the intersection of 243 and Highway 74.

San Bernardino National Forest tweeted that a total of 713 personals were assigned to manage the fire. Seventy-one fire engines, 12 crews, nine dozers, five water tenders, fiver tankers, seven helicopters and nine fixed wings are being used to handle the fire.

To ensure safety of animals, emergency animal shelters were also opened at various places. Residents can either call on the number provided in the InciWeb page for assistance, or drop off animals at the designated shelters. All animals (large and small) can be dropped off at San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus and Dysart Dysart Equestrian Park at Victory Ave in Banning.

The National Weather Service, San Diego, tweeted that temperatures amid the heat wave on Wednesday had broken records.

Though the cause of the fire still remains unclear, California Fire Law Enforcement Officers arrested a man for alleged arson.

“On Wednesday, July 25, 2018, CAL FIRE Law Enforcement Officers arrested Brandon N. Mc Glover, 32 of Temecula for allegedly setting multiple fires in southwest Riverside County on July 25, 2018,” the department in a press release said. “Mc Glover was transported to Cois Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, where he was booked on the following charges: PC 451(c) - Five counts of arson to wildland.”

California Fire Peace Officers determined a description of the suspect, which was then passed on to other local law enforcement agencies, the press release said. The Hemet/San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force located Mc Glover based on the information and the California Fire Peace officers later took him into custody.

Fire-fighters from the USFS San Bernardino National Forest, California Fire Department, Riverside County Fire Department and several other local public safety agencies responded to a series of fires in Southwest Riverside County and Federal areas along State Highway 74 in the San Bernardino National Forest in the recent times.