Thousands Flee Homes In Southern California As Fire Rages Out Of Control

Firefighters battle a wildfire Tuesday along Cajon Blvd. in the Cajon Pass north of Devore, Calif.

Will Lester / The Sun, Southern California News Group via AP

A fast-moving brush fire scorched through 6,500 acres Tuesday in Southern California, closing a major interstate and forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

Six hours after it was first sparked, more than 700 firefighters were assigned to fight the Blue Cut fire which remained 0% contained and was still growing rapidly.

The fire, located about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, was sparked Tuesday morning in the Cajon Pass west of Interstate 15 — the main route connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

Deputies and firefighters continued to issue evacuation orders as the fire grew and, by late afternoon, announced a mandatory evacuation for the entire town of Wrightwood, a mountain community of more than 4,500 people.

According to the incident report for the fire, an unknown number of homes or structures have been damaged, and a staff photographer for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin captured images of homes burning near Highway 138.

San Bernardino National Forest and Cal Fire officials are using 57 fire engines and 10 air tankers to tackle the fire.

Still, officials have not been able to build containment lines around the flames.

Fire officials said in a statement six firefighters were trapped by the flames while defending homes and helping residents evacuate Swarthout Canyon. The firefighters were able to shelter in place, but two suffered minor injuries.

Both firefighters were treated at a nearby hospital, released, and were re-assigned back in to fight the fire, officials said.

The fire was sparked as temperatures in the area soared above 100 degrees with very low humidity. On Wednesday, the temperatures were expected to remain in the high 90s.

The fire was not the only one burning in the drought-parched state.

In Lake County in Northern California, more than 4,000 acres burned in the Clayton Fire, destroying 175 structures in the town of Lower Lake. The blaze was only 5% contained, according to Cal Fire.

On Monday, the Lake County Sheriff's Department announced the arrest of a resident, Damin Pashilk, in connection with the fire.

The cause of the Blue Cut fire has not been determined.

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