The fire has burned nearly 900 acres and was just 10 percent contained as of Friday afternoon.

The fire has burned nearly 900 acres and was just 10 percent contained as of Friday afternoon.

            

      Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park residents had a few minutes to escape from the Sandalwood Fire. At least one person did not make out in time, dying as she tried to escape the wildfire that destroyed 74 structures and damaged an additional 16, Cal Fire Riverside representatives said during a press conference on Friday.

                  An 89-year-old woman, whose identity has not been officially released by authorities, was found dead in her mobile home. Two women identified the victim as Lois Arvickson — “a great lady who was an example to many.”

                  “The community has lost a great lady, just an awesome and wonderful lady,” said one woman shaking her head still in disbelief.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco

Laarni Mayang listens to Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco update on the wildfires. Mayang was searching for her cat Figaro.

On Friday, Oct. 11, authorities canvassed the area for more possible victims. Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said during a press conference at Noble Creek Park in Beaumont that at least two more people have not been located.

                  Bianco said the person responsible for dumping burning trash that apparently sparked the wildfire is cooperating with authorities and could face charges. Bianco did not say if the driver belongs to a company or is an independent contractor.

                  Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt said the tragedy could spark new policies to prevent future tragedies. On Thursday, Oct. 10, authorities confirmed that a trash truck driver unloaded trash already on fire on the site, sparking the fire that threatened dozens of homes in the Redlands area.

The fire was reported 3:38 p.m. Thursday at Calimesa Boulevard and Sandalwood Drive. 

                  As of 7:15 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, the fire had grown to 823 acres and was 10 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire). CalFire reports that 28 engine companies and 220 firefighters are battling the blaze, aided by two air tankers, one helicopter a water tender and a bulldozer. The American Red Cross is also on scene.

The Calimesa Senior Center care and reception site will close at 7:30 p.m. Friday. A shelter has been opened at 7:30 p.m. at: Mesa Grande Academy, 975 Fremont St., Calimesa. Transportation will be provided to current evacuees from the Calimesa Senior Center to Mesa Grande Academy by the city of Calimesa.

Firefighters on scene at the Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park. Firefighters on scene at the Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park.

Firefighters on scene at the Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park.

Mandatory evacuations remain in place south of Seventh Street, east of County Line Road.

CalFire reports that 28 engine companies and 220 firefighters are battling the blaze, aided by two air tankers, one helicopter a water tender and a bulldozer.  The American Red Cross is also on scene.

The Reche Fire broke out at 2:18 p.m. Thursday at Reche Canyon Road and Jordan Drive in Moreno Valley. It has burned 350 acres and is 60 percent contained, according to a CalFire update at 1:59 p.m. Friday. The cause is under investigation.

A care and reception center has been opened by Riverside County Emergency Management Department with city of Moreno Valley Office of Emergency Management at Canyon Springs High School, located at 23100 Cougar Canyon Road in Moreno Valley.

Large and small animals may be taken to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus at 581 S. Grand Ave., iSan Jacinto. Residents who are unable to get to their pets and need help to evacuate pets are asked to call (951) 358-7387.

There are 16 engine companies and 91 firefighters battling the blaze with two air tankers, a helicopter, two bulldozers and one water tender.

There are 16 engine companies and 91 firefighters battling the blaze with two air tankers, a helicopter, two bulldozers and one water tender.

The Wolf Fire broke out at 5:08 p.m. Friday at Wolfskill Truck Road near Silver Creek Drive, four miles south of Banning. It has burned 75 acres and is 50 percent contained. There are 15 engine companies and 143 firefighters battling the blaze with four air tankers, two bulldozers and a water tanker.

The Riverside University Health System urged residents in the area limit outdoor activities because of smoke and ashes generated from the Sandalwood, Reche and Wolf fires.

                  “Ash and smoke can be hard on anyone to breath, but especially those with lung disease and respiratory illnesses,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. “Everyone worries about the flames but smoke can impact you even if you are miles away from the fire. There are some simple steps residents can take to protect themselves.”

                  Laarni Mayang, who has lived in the mobile park for almost two years, learned of the news while at work and immediately contacted her kids, who were safe at school. On Friday morning, Mayang tried to go into the area to look for her cat Figaro, but was prevented by authorities.

                  Mayang said that this Christmas season is not going to be a happy one as residents mourn the death of Arvickson.

                  According to authorities, the site will remain closed over the weekend as they slowly examine evidence.