California Wildfire Rages out of Control, Thousands Evacuated by 'Silver Fire' (SLIDESHOW)
Aug 08, 2013 10:24 AM EDT
A wildfire that started in the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California has been spreading rapidly and has forced the evacuation of over 1,500 people, according to ABC News.
ABC News reports that the uncontrolled fire is near Banning, Calif., and has forced evacuations for the following communities: Vista Granda, Mt. Edna, Poppet Flats, Twin Pines and Silent Valley, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
"This fire has been moving very quickly and we discovered that first hand because as we were going on the (Highway) 243 trying to get to Twin Pines, suddenly the flames just jumped up in front of us as we were trying to make a corner we could see the orange glow all around us," Carlos Grande told ABC News.
So far the blaze, which has been nicknamed the Silver Fire, has burned 6,000 acres and destroyed 15 structures as it moves eastward. Three people have been injured including two firefighters. According to NBC News the civilian was burned from head to toe but their current condition is unknown.
Margaret Runnels told USA Today that she had left her job early to try to get to her house in Poppet Flats but was stopped by firefighters.
"I was hoping they would let me back up to get some personal items I knew my husband would forget like a jewelry box and stuff that means stuff," Runnels said. "You always tell yourself to prepare everything but you never take the stupid time to do it."
High temperatures mixed with winds gusting up to 17 mph have contributed to the rapid spreading of the fire. So far 450 firefighters are fighting the blaze along with four air tankers and five helicopters, according to NBC News.
A resident of Twin Pines whose home was spared but had a motor home destroyed by the fire told ABC News about the experience.
"No firemen came whatsoever," Andy Schrader said. "We did everything ourselves. It was so bad I thought I better kiss my a** goodbye. I thought I was going to die."
Julie Hutchinson, a battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told ABC News that firefighters have a lot of work ahead of them to contain the blaze.
"It's going to be a long night out here," he said. "We've got to get those hand crews, got to keep pushing through cutting that hand line. We are going to have some night flying aircraft that are going to be assisting us."