Wildfires in the US force 82,000 to flee their homes
Aug.18, California: US officials have said a wildfire in Southern California raged virtually unchecked in thick brush on Wednesday after destroying dozens of houses and forcing the evacuation of more than 80,000 people from their homes.
The so-called Blue Cut Fire ignited on Tuesday in the mountainous Cajon Pass, near a highway corridor between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and has since covered more than 100sq km.
Firefighters had carved containment lines around only four percent of the blaze by Wednesday night, according to fire service officials. They described the blaze as unusually fierce, even in a year of intense wildfires in the west, where years of drought have put a heavy burden on firefighting resources.
According to reports, as many as eight wildland fires were burning in California on Wednesday, three of them scorching thousands of hectares as firefighters sought help from emergency services in other states and the California National Guard.
The Santa Ana winds, which sweep desert air to California's coast while driving the fires, are due to kick up next month, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal-Fire) spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff told the Reuters news agency
The Oslo Times International News Network