Two people were killed and several homes have been burned in a rapidly growing California wildfire that stretched across hundreds of acres on Monday, authorities said.
The brushfire, dubbed the “Fairview Fire” because of its proximity to Fairview Avenue in the city of Hemet, began shortly after 2 p.m., according to the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department.
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.
The department said seven structures were destroyed in the fire and several others damaged.
CBS Los Angeles reported a half-dozen homes were among the structures engulfed by the flames.
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 700 acres and was 5% contained, authorities said. 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.
“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.