Vehicle malfunction sparked Southern California wildfire

Vehicle malfunction sparked Southern California wildfire

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

The vehicle spewed burning carbon from its exhaust system, igniting several fires Friday on Oak Glen Road in Cherry Valley, and authorities were asking anyone who may have seen such a vehicle at the time to contact investigators, 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 more than 41 square miles (about 106 square kilometres) of dry brush and timber since it broke out Friday evening, fire officials said.

As of Monday afternoon, it was just 5% contained and the fire along with coronavirus precautions made for added stress at an evacuation centre, said John Medina, an American Red Cross spokesman.

Volunteers used to “close contact” with evacuees have had to adjust their approach during a time of social distancing, Medina said.

“I mean, that’s part of the recovery of a disaster, is that you have to show warmth and love and caring. And that’s hard when you’re standing 6 feet away. So that’s the biggest challenge,” Medina told KESQ-TV.

Bill Boehm helped his mother evacuate her home with her three horses and said the pandemic hasn’t stopped people from coming together to assist each other.

“Everyone seemed to be wearing masks and such, so that type of precaution was still going on,” Boehm told the news station.

The blaze began as two adjacent fires in a rural area near the city of Beaumont, about 85 miles (137 kilometres) east of downtown Los Angeles.

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.

In Northern California, evacuations were ordered after a wildfire that sparked Sunday afternoon spread quickly and burned near homes near the East Park Reservoir in Colusa County. Complicating firefighters’ efforts were temperatures in the area north of Sacramento were expected to hit the upper 90s (around 36 Celsius) by Monday afternoon.

On California’s central coast, a fire in San Luis Obispo County was 60% contained Monday after burning more than 2 square miles (6 square kilometres) of brush east of the community of Santa Margarita. Two structures were destroyed but officials said it was unclear whether they were homes.

In Riverside County, officials allowed flames from the Apple Fire to run up the side of Mount San Gorgonio, an 11,000-foot (3,350-meter) peak, because it wasn’t safe to let crews work in such steep, rugged terrain, said Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.

Evacuation orders and advisories were issued for about 2,500 homes in mountain, canyon and foothill neighbourhoods. Campgrounds and hiking trails were closed in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area of the San Bernardino National Forest.

A smoke plume was visible for miles around and contributed to poor air quality.

Firefighters fought the blaze in scorching weather. The temperature hit 111 degrees (44 Celsius) on Monday in nearby Palm Spring.

The Associated Press

wildfire

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Active cases in central zone up Tuesday

Central zone active cases remains lowest of all zones

Breeding better barley

The Field Crop Development Centre continues to breed new barley varieties that benefit Alberta farmers and ranchers

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas-and-dash death of Alberta gas station owner

Ki Yun Jo was killed after Mitchell Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Staff at Stettler Auction Mart keeping busy despite pandemic restrictions

‘We have a lot of technology nowadays so it’s made it a little bit easier to deal with something like this, that’s for sure.’

Lacombe-based author Fran Kimmel to lead writers’ workshop in Stettler

Kimmel’s novels include Shore Girl and No Good Asking

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

RCMP say body located of man who fell in river during stop for photos in Banff

Parks Canada has said the man was from India and living in Canada on a work visa

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Lacombe beekeepers give the buzz on winterizing hives

Winterizing a honeybee hive is not a simple task, local apiarists say

Most Read