Firefighters were said to be gaining ground Friday against a wildfire burning in a Southern California mountain pass that has forced tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes and destroyed about 100 houses, officials said.
The Blue Cut Wildfire, named for a narrow gorge near its origin in the Cajon Pass about 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles, has blackened 37,000 acres of drought-parched heavy brush and chaparral after breaking out on Tuesday.
The blaze has destroyed 96 single-family homes and 213 outbuildings, according to a preliminary assessment from teams in the field, a fire information officer said. Officials previously said dozens of structures were gutted, without providing exact figures.
Officials said firefighters were able to carve containment lines around 26% of the blaze as of Friday morning, that up from 4% Thursday in dry, hot and windy weather conditions and treacherous terrain.
The intensely burning wildfire has produced cyclone-like whirls of flame, and it continue to threaten some 34,500 homes and other structures in communities including the ski resort town of Wrightwood officials said.
More than 80,000 residents were told to evacuate their homes Tuesday. Since then, some people have been allowed to return home.
While many residents opted to stay put, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office said deputies arrested three people suspected of attempting to loot from the abandoned homes of evacuees.
Thursday, California transit authorities reopened I-15, the primary traffic route between greater Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nevada, after it was closed for 2 days by the fast-moving fire.
The Blue Cut fire is one of nearly 30 major wildfires reported to have scorched some hundreds of square miles in 8 Western states this week, in the midst of a wildfire season stoked by prolonged drought and unusually hot weather, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
Remember, when traveling in fire danger zones take extreme care, lives and property depend on it.
Have a terrific weekend.