More than 82,000 people were evacuated on Tuesday evening after a wildfire triggered in the Cajon Pass area of Southern California blazed through the terrain rapidly.
Major freeways were also closed off as a result of the fire.
The fire – which started near Interstate 15 – has been dubbed Blue Cut Fire, since it erupted near a trail called Blue Cut.
Blue Cut Fire: “There is no escape”
While no serious injuries have been reported as a result of the blaze, two firefighters sustained minor wounds. The firefighters were helping in evacuations in the Swarthout Canyon area, west of the Cajon Pass, when they became trapped by the fire. While they took refuge in a home, they sustained minor injuries and were transported to the hospital.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the fire spread to a larger area over night as a result of strong winds, dry brush and temperatures reaching 100 degrees. Firefighters found it immensely difficult to battle and contain the blaze. There are fears the situation will get worse.
Speaking with reporters, resident Amber said she was in the shower when deputies arrived at her doorstep and asked that she evacuate immediately. She grabbed what she could and fled. “There is no escape,” she said. “This was the time for me to go.”
Also read: Big Sur California Fire Update: Root Cause Detected, Hundreds Evacuated, States Under Alert
Blue Cut Fire: Closure of freeways
In its fifth year of drought, California has been affected by several fires this year. Hundreds of homes have been damaged and eight people killed in the fires that have struck the state this year.
With Southern California’s traditional fire season, which brings the hot Santa Ana winds, yet to arrive officials fear more damage could be caused.
As reported by NBC Los Angeles, Interstate 15 from Oak Hill Road to Kenwood Avenue was shut down in both directions. Highway 138, which runs east west along the northern part of the San Gabriel Mountains and the Mojave Desert, to Lone Pine Canyon was also shut down.
— SB County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) August 17, 2016
— Breaking911 Nature (@B911Nature) August 17, 2016
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) August 17, 2016
— CAL FIRE PIO (@CALFIRE_PIO) August 17, 2016