U.S.

New California Fire Spreading Rapidly in San Bernardino County

Firefighters in California’s San Bernardino County have been battling the newly erupted Sierra Fire, which has spread rapidly amid “relentless” high winds.

According to San Bernardino County Fire District’s Twitter page, the vegetation fire started near Highway 15, where Sierra Avenue meets Riverside Avenue, around 10 p.m. on Tuesday evening “with rapid rate of spread.”

Within an hour it had grown from 2 acres to 20 acres in size. “Fire continues to grow to the south under influence of #SantaAnaWinds. Structure protection in place along Riverside Ave. NO EVACUATIONS are in place at this time,” the fire service wrote.

As of around 5.30 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning, the fire had spread to 147 acres.

At the scene there were 26 engines, seven hand crews, three dozers and one patrol helicopter from San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office conducting reconnaissance operations.

"Crews will remain on scene today reinforcing containment lines, mopping up hot spots through the interior, and monitoring the wind conditions," the fire service said.

The fire service posted footage of the windy, dusty conditions in which dozers operated to battle the spread of the blaze.

“Footage from earlier this evening. In #SantaAnaWinds, dozers can often engage where it’s too dangerous for handcrews. A decisive force multiplier in tonight’s firefight,” the tweet said.

A subsequent tweet from the fire service said: “Firefighters making good progress despite relentless winds. Engines continue to patrol neighborhoods monitoring for embers. Resources will remain on scene tonight into tomorrow constructing and reinforcing containment lines. Updated acreage in progress.”

Several deadly and destructive wildfires currently burn across the state of California. At least 48 people died in the Camp Fire, considered the "deadliest" wildfire in the state's history, and several more people are missing, reported The New York Times.

Read more: California Fire Looters Allegedly Stole AR-15 and Chainsaws

According to Cal Fire, the Camp Fire in northwestern Butte County is 130,000 acres in size and has killed 48 people so far. It has also destroyed 7,600 homes and 260 commercial buildings. The fire is 35 percent contained.

Down in the state’s southeast, the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles has burned 97,114 acres and is 40 percent contained. Two people have died and 435 structures are destroyed, including the homes of celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Gerard Butler.   

Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes because of the fires.

This article was updated with new information about the Sierra Fire's size.

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