Malfunctioning vehicle sparked Southern California wildfire that displaced thousands

Updated: 05 August, 2020 08:30 IST | Agencies | Banning

The diesel vehicle spewed burning carbon from its exhaust system, igniting several fires Friday on Oak Glen Road in Cherry Valley, according to a statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

The fire in Riverside County, which broke out on Friday evening, was just 5 per cent contained as of Monday afternoon. Pic/AP
The fire in Riverside County, which broke out on Friday evening, was just 5 per cent contained as of Monday afternoon. Pic/AP

A wildfire in mountains east of Los Angeles that has forced thousands of people from their homes was sparked by a malfunctioning vehicle, fire officials said on Monday.

The diesel vehicle spewed burning carbon from its exhaust system, igniting several fires Friday on Oak Glen Road in Cherry Valley, according to a statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze in Riverside County, among several wildfires across California, had consumed about 106 square km of dry brush and timber since it broke out Friday evening, fire officials said. As of Monday afternoon, it was just 5 per cent contained and the fire along with coronavirus precautions made for added stress at an evacuation centre, said John Medina, an American Red Cross spokesperson.

Flames raced along brushy ridge tops and came close to houses while firefighters attacked from the ground and air. One home and two outbuildings were destroyed, California fire officials said. No injuries were reported. Volunteers used to "close contact" with evacuees have had to adjust their approach during a time of social distancing, Medina said.

Evacuation orders and advisories were issued for about 2,500 homes in mountain, canyon and foothill neighborhoods. Firefighters fought the blaze in scorching weather. The temperature hit 44 degrees Celsius on Monday.

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First Published: 05 August, 2020 07:14 IST

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