Southern California Wildfire In San Jacinto Mountains Burns 10 Homes, Evacuations Continue As Hot Weather Fuels Blaze

 @Keemohan
on July 17 2013 6:51 AM
SanJacintoMountains
Storm clouds gather over the San Jacinto Mountains as windmills spin near Palm Springs, California, December 18, 2011. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich

A wildfire in the San Jacinto mountains in southern California, about 110 miles east of Los Angeles, which began on Monday, has destroyed 10 homes, mobile cabins and other buildings as it continues to blaze, authorities told Reuters.

According to Reuters, the fire has spread to 9,000 acres, prompting authorities to order the area's residents to leave their homes.

"There's a disaster area in there. It's devastating," Scott Visyak, a spokesman for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told NBC Los Angeles on Tuesday. "There's several homes lost. There's several homes standing. The fire had just gone through there very aggressively," Visyak said.

As of late Tuesday, the fire, which started between Palm Springs and Hemet, was moving toward the desert, and away from homes and summer cabins in the San Jacinto mountains. But, a shift in wind pattern could easily divert the direction of the blaze, officials said.

"It's a rapidly changing animal," Forest Service spokesman Lee Beyer told Associated Press, adding that more than 2,200 firefighters and 25 aircraft helped contain the blaze by 10 percent.

Dry weather conditions have not helped matters much. "With the heavy fuels we've got and the temperatures we're experiencing, it's making it a very aggressive, hot fire right now," Visyak told NBC.

The fire has so far led to the evacuation of 50 homes in the neighborhood, along with a camp for children with cancer called Camp Ronald McDonald. A pair of state highways and the Pacific Crest Trail have also been shut down, authorities told AP.

The origin and cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

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