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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.