Yesterday a fire started near San Bernardino in Southern California. In just one hour, the fire leaped from two acres to 1,000 acres. By evening, the fire, called the Blue Cut Fire, reached at least 15,000 acres, and authorities advised 82,640 people to evacuate their homes as a result.
Around 34,500 homes may be affected by the Blue Cut Fire. According to a Tuesday night tweet from CAL FIRE Chief of Public Information Daniel Berlant, the fire was not at all contained. United States Forest Service spokesperson Bill Poole described the fire as “very aggressive.”
California’s governor Jerry Brown proclaimed a state of emergency for San Bernardino County. In the proclamation, Brown linked the fire to the drought that “has caused millions of trees to die” and has “increased the severity and spread of fires throughout the State.” California has suffered through drought for around five years now, and the summer heat and wind has exacerbated the wildfire season.
Around 700 firefighters are currently working to contain the fire. Helicopters dumped water and planes sprayed flame retardant. At one harrowing point, the fire trapped six firefighters. Though they were able to find shelter and make it to safety, two had to be treated for minor injuries. So far there have been no reported civilian injuries.
Authorities closed part of Interstate 15, a primary route between Las Vegas and Southern California, in the face of the Blue Cut Fire. Local news station NBC Los Angeles captured a terrifying “firenado” on camera and said the fire is burning “out of control.”
Other fires continue to burn in the dry state as well. According to recent tweets from Berlant, the Clayton Fire in Lake County is 40 percent contained and the Chimney Fire in San Luis Obispo County is 20 percent contained. As of Tuesday there are 8,500 firefighters battling “six large wildfires” in California.