Apple fire blazes Southern California; 8000 residents evacuated so far


A major fire in California has led to the evacuation of more than 8,000 people from Riverside County. The uncontrolled blaze has spread across more than 12,000 acres, according to local authorities.

It is called Apple Fire by the locals and it started as several small fires on Friday. All of them merged resulting into massive blaze.

The blaze, dubbed the Apple Fire, was reported shortly before 5 p.m. in Cherry Valley, an unincorporated area near the city of Beaumont in Riverside County.

Flames leapt along brushy ridgetops and came close to homes while some 200 firefighters fought the blaze from the ground and air, authorities said. Four Cal Fire air tankers and two water-dropping helicopters were called to begin making drops as the fire raged.

As of 11 p.m. ET, the Apple Fire had spread to 12,000 acres and remained 0% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fire was one of several being fought as Southern California found itself in the midst of a heatwave. Several inland and valley areas set daily heat records, including Thermal and Idyllwild, both in the Palm Springs area. Thermal, in the Coachella Valley, had a high of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking a 1996 record by one degree.

The National Weather Service said “dangerously hot conditions” with low humidity were expected to continue into Saturday because of high pressure over the region.

Thirty engine crews and 10 hand crews, numbering well over 200 personnel, were sent to the location and encountered the three blazes that were said to be converging in an area with heavy vegetation.

At the request of the fire department, Southern California Edison cut off power in some areas to prevent potential additional fires from breaking out as burned power poles collapsed, dropping power lines, CBS Los Angeles reported.