Rapidly growing California brushfire engulfs homes, forces evacuations

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A massive California wildfire stretched across hundreds of acres engulfed several homes in flames Monday as fire crews rushed to control the rapidly growing blaze.

The brushfire, dubbed the “Fairview Fire” because of its proximity to Fairview Avenue in the city of Hemet, began shortly after 2 p.m. the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department said in an update.

People who live in the surrounding area were ordered to evacuate, the department said in a Twitter post.

About 1,500 homes were originally in the evacuation order with that directive expanding to more areas as the evening progressed, KABC reported.

CBS Los Angeles also reported multiple structures were fully swallowed by flames, including a half-dozen homes.

Fire crews were dropping fire retardant from the air to fight the growing blaze.
Fire crews were dropping fire retardant from the air to fight the growing blaze.

One person was also taken to the hospital with burns on their arms, back and face. Fire crews rescued several victims who were trapped by flames, the television station reported.

Captain Richard Cordova said in a briefing with smoke billowing in the background that the fire began to quickly spread before firefighters even got on scene. First responders were going door-to-door to get people to flee the area under threat, he said.

None of the roughly 200 firefighters battling the blaze have been injured so far, he said.

The vegetation fire has spread to over 600 acres and was zero percent contained, Cordova said shortly after 6 p.m. local time. Aircrafts overhead were dropping fire retardant and water, Cordova added.

The rapidly growing fire comes while the area faces a sustained drought and sizzling temperatures over 100 degrees, KABC-TV reported.

One civilian has been reported injured so far.
One civilian has been reported injured so far.

“It’s in some remote areas where it is challenging for firefighters, especially in this extreme heat that we’re experiencing this last couple of weeks, if not couple of months,” Cordova said during the update.

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