The 71 Freeway in Corona was shut down in the Corona area Thursday as a 105-acre brush fire sent plumes of smoke into the air.

The Aviation Fire was reported at 35 acres around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 1900 block of Aviation Drive, according to Cal Fire/ Riverside County Fire Department. As of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, it had consumed 105 acres and was 0% contained.

The blaze burning in heavy river bottom fuels forced the closure of Highway 71 in both directions from Highway 91 to Highway 83.

Aerial video showed thick smoke billowing over the freeway as firefighters battled the flames Thursday morning.

The blaze broke out while strong winds pummeled Southern California, raising alarms over heightened fire danger and leading to power shutoffs throughout the region.

On Wednesday, fire officials issued an evacuation warning to residents on Big Springs Ct., Rock Ridge Ct., Cheyenne Road, Homestead Road, Holster Street and Lone Tree Street, but the warning has since been lifted.

The Fire Department reminded residents to remain vigilant, saying “conditions can change quickly.”

In neighboring Orange County, a wind-driven brush fire erupted in Silverado Canyon late Wednesday night, burned thousands of acres and forced mandatory evacuations.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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