MATZ FIRE BURNS 8-10 ACRES IN MORONGO VALLEY MONDAY MORNING

MATZ FIRE BURNS 8-10 ACRES IN MORONGO VALLEY MONDAY MORNING

About 120 firefighters from CalFire, Morongo Valley, and the Bureau of Land Management are fighting a brush fire that broke out in Big Morongo Canyon Preserve about 12:30 a.m. Monday. CalFire Battalion Chief Tony Jones said the fire, called the Matz Fire, was originally estimated to be 20 acres, but was later downgraded to about 8 to 10  acres when the sun came up. “Fires always look bigger at night,” he said. Two air tankers and three helicopters were called in to help fight the blaze. Firefighters had to walk in about one mile, carrying hoses and firefighting equipment, to reach the flames. The fire was in a remote area of the park with heavy fuel, and Jones added the high temperatures and low humidity were a concern. At 10 a.m. Monday, the blaze was about 80 percent contained. Firefighters will be on scene throughout the day and into the night to ensure it doesn’t flare up. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photos Courtesy CalFire

A helicopter carries a bucket of water that it will dump on the flames below in Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Tami Roleff photo

An air tanker flies over the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve as it prepares to dump retardant on the blaze.

A CalFire spotter plane flies overhead; this plane provides “eyes in the sky” for firefighters on the ground.

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