The unified incident command fighting the Fairview Fire in Hemet has begun reducing evacuation orders as the firefighters reached 62% containment of 28,000-plus-acre fire as of Tuesday morning, Sept. 13.

The fire began near the unincorporated area of Fairview Avenue and Bautista Canyon Road on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 5.

According to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Josh Janssen, the fire spread quickly and outpaced initial firefighting efforts due to wind patterns blowing opposite of what is typical for this time of the year and an abundance of drought-scorched fuels.

The unified command grew to include local and federal resources including Cal Fire, the Hemet Fire Department, Riverside County Sherriff’s Department and the U.S. Forest Service.

On Sept. 5, Gov. Gavin Newsom secured Fire Management Assistance Grant funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help in fire suppression costs.

By Sept. 8 the fire had grown to more than 19,000 acres and the governor declared it a state of emergency.

Gain on containing the fire came over the weekend with ground and aerial firefighting techniques aided by a rise in moisture brought on by heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Kay.

The fire killed two civilians and caused several injuries. Two unidentified civilians were found dead in a vehicle within the evacuation area, the Sheriff’s Department reported on Sept. 6. It is believed the two decedents were attempting to evacuate.

Additional injuries occurred as the result of a helicopter crash at Banning Municipal Airport on Saturday, Sept. 10.

According to a Cal Fire press release, at 3:52 p.m. Sept. 10 a helicopter assigned to the Fairview Fire crashed while attempting to land at the airport.

The crew (one pilot and two fire personnel) sustained moderate injuries and was taken to a local trauma center for treatment.

Firefighting helicopters have been using the airport to refill on Phos-Chek fire retardant.

As of Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Fairview Fire threatened 112 structures, destroyed 21 structures and damaged four structures, according to Cal Fire.

Full containment of the fire is expected by Saturday, Sept. 17.