California wildfire explodes, kills 2, threatens thousands of structures
Crews were battling an approximately 20-acre brush fire in the city of Hemet southeast of Los Angeles that quickly grew to 2,000 acres and was 5% contained by the evening hours, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Captain Richard Cordova, with the Riverside County Fire Department confirmed that two residents died as a result of the blaze and another person was transported to a hospital with serious burns.
Crews were able to rescue several people who were trapped by the flames.
By late Monday night, seven structures were destroyed and several others damaged. Officials estimated that 5,000 more were threatened by the flames. Around 1,500 homes were evacuated.
The so-called Fairview Fire erupted at around 3:37 p.m. and was burning in light to medium vegetation at a rapid pace.
A care and reception area for evacuees was established at a local high school.
According to the Riverside County Fire Department’s website, 33 engine companies, six air tankers and four helicopters were deployed to fight the blaze.
Cordova said crews will have several challenges in battling the brush fire on Tuesday, with a light breeze in the morning and a shift in winds in the afternoon, along with high temperatures.
Officials with the Hemet Unified School District said schools would be closed Tuesday as a result of the fire.