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Some 8,000 evacuate as California wildfires spread east of Los Angeles

Issued on: 03/08/2020 – 11:47

Evacuation orders remained in place early Monday for thousands of people after a wildfire in mountains east of Los Angeles exploded in size and forced crews to battle flames in triple-digit heat.

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The Apple Fire in Riverside County consumed more than 31 square miles (about 80 square kilometers) of dry brush and timber, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

As of Monday morning, it was 5% contained. The cause was under investigation.

Officials allowed flames to run up the side of Mount San Gorgonio, an 11,000-foot (3,350-meter) peak, because it wasn't safe to let crews work in such steep, rugged terrain, said Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.

“We dont want to put firefighters in a dangerous situation,” Cox told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “Its burning in a straight line up a mountain.”

The blaze began as two adjacent fires reported Friday evening in Cherry Valley, an unincorporated area near the city of Beaumont about 85 miles (137 kilometers) east of downtown Los Angeles.

Flames leapt along brushy ridge tops and came close to homes while firefighters attacked it from the ground and air.

A small plane sprays fire retardant over the California mountains to help stop the spread. © Screen grab, France 24

One home and two outbuildings were destroyed, Cal Fire said. No injuries were reported.

Evacuation orders and advisories were issued for about 8,000 people in mountain, canyon and foothill neighborhoods. Campgrounds and hiking trails were closed in the San GorgonRead More – Source

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