News / USA

Mountain Fire in Southern California Forces 6,000 to Flee

This July 17, 2013, image provided by Meagan Greene shows wildfire smoke near Idyllwild, California. The blaze about 100 miles east of Los Angeles had grown to more than 35 square miles in size and had destroyed several homes.
This July 17, 2013, image provided by Meagan Greene shows wildfire smoke near Idyllwild, California. The blaze about 100 miles east of Los Angeles had grown to more than 35 square miles in size and had destroyed several homes.
Reuters
— A wildfire that chased some 6,000 people from homes, vacation cabins and campgrounds in the mountains of Southern California roared through dry brush and timber for a fourth day on Thursday as crews battled to keep flames away from popular resort areas.
 
The blaze erupted on Monday afternoon about 100 miles (161 km) east of Los Angeles in the scenic but rugged San Jacinto Mountains overlooking Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and several smaller low-lying desert towns.
 
No injuries have been reported, but authorities say seven mountain residences, including three mobile homes, have been destroyed, along with five commercial structures, about a dozen outbuildings and several vehicles.
 
Authorities on Wednesday ordered the evacuation of the mile-high resort area of Idyllwild, along with the adjacent village of Fern Valley and all the parks and campgrounds in the vicinity as the blaze burned largely unchecked.
 
Several smaller communities in the area had already been evacuated during the first three days of the fire.
 
The latest evacuation notices brought to roughly 6,000 the total number of residents, vacationers and campers displaced by the so-called Mountain Fire, said Steve Gut, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
 
Gut said the blaze was moving in different directions but that flames were still several miles from the outskirts of Idyllwild, a popular mountain getaway known for its hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding and music scene.
 
Fire incident commander Jeanne Pincha-Telley told a news conference in Idyllwild that one flank of the blaze had reached to within 2 miles of the extreme southern edge of Palm Springs at the foot of the mountain. Palm Springs itself was not under evacuation.
 
Pincha-Telley said the towering column of smoke and cinders pouring skyward from the blaze might complicate efforts to contain the flames as hot embers carried aloft could ignite new spot fires in the area.
 
In the next two days, she said, that column is “predicted to go right over the top of this town.”
 
By early Thursday, the fire had charred some 2,800 acres (1,133 hectares) of drought-parched chaparral and timber, much of it in steep, remote wilderness terrain inside the San Bernardino National Forest.
 
That was more than three times the acreage reported burned two days earlier.
 
With nearly 3,000 firefighters, 17 water-dropping helicopters and 10 air tankers assigned to it, the blaze ranked as one of the most severe of more than a dozen large wildfires that crews were battling to contain in several western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho.
 
Experts say this year could see one of the worst U.S. fire seasons on record. In recent weeks, a Colorado wildfire ranked as that state's most destructive on record ravaged more than 500 homes and killed two people. In Arizona, 19 members of an elite “hotshots” crew died while battling a separate fire on June 30.
 
In California, as of Thursday morning, firefighters had managed to carve containment lines around 15 percent of the Mountain Fire's perimeter. The cause of the blaze remained under investigation, authorities said.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid