New York: California’s first major bushfire of the year grew to more than 8000 hectares over the weekend, destroying one home, forcing thousands to evacuate and sending up a plume of smoke so massive that it generated its own winds, authorities said.
The so-called Apple fire in Riverside County burnt up steep and rugged hillsides, making it inaccessible to firefighting vehicles as it spread north and east toward the San Gorgonio Wilderness while continuing to threaten homes to the south.
The fire spread rapidly in the early hours of Sunday. The blaze was 5 per cent contained as of 7pm Sunday, Monday AEST, as 2200 fire personnel in the air and on the ground worked to douse it.
Officials were unable to gauge the exact size of the blaze, but Lisa Cox, fire information officer for the San Bernardino National Forest, said that “there was significant growth and fire activity.”