California wildfire destroys at least 10 homes - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

California wildfire destroys at least 10 homes

Multiple structures burn in the Poppet Flats area as the Silver Fire roared through the area along Hwy 243 between Banning and Idyllwild, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Frank Bellino) Multiple structures burn in the Poppet Flats area as the Silver Fire roared through the area along Hwy 243 between Banning and Idyllwild, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Frank Bellino)
The wildfire burns along State Route 243 as a truck carrying a Cal Fire bulldozer moves up the road on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/The Desert Sun, Richard Lui) (Richard Lui The Desert Sun) The wildfire burns along State Route 243 as a truck carrying a Cal Fire bulldozer moves up the road on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/The Desert Sun, Richard Lui) (Richard Lui The Desert Sun)
A pickup truck is engulfed in flames as the Silver Fire roars through a residential area near Hwy 243 and Twin Pines Road between Banning and Idyllwild, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Frank Bellino) A pickup truck is engulfed in flames as the Silver Fire roars through a residential area near Hwy 243 and Twin Pines Road between Banning and Idyllwild, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Frank Bellino)
Twin Pines, Calif. resident Dave Clark tells some neighbors their home is ok while his own house burns behind him, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 near Banning, Calif. (AP Photo/The Desert Sun, Richard Lui) Twin Pines, Calif. resident Dave Clark tells some neighbors their home is ok while his own house burns behind him, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 near Banning, Calif. (AP Photo/The Desert Sun, Richard Lui)
A helicopter drops water over a wildfire on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, in Cabazon, Calif. (AP) A helicopter drops water over a wildfire on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, in Cabazon, Calif. (AP)

Acres burned: 14,000
Containment: 20%
Location: Poppet Flats Rd near Hwy 243, south of Banning
Start date: August 7, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.
Injuries: 5 (4 firefighters, 1 civilian)
Road Closures: Hwy 243 is closed. Boulder Basin and Black Mountain Campgrounds on Black Mountain Road have been closed through August 15.

Evacuations: Evacuation Order for the communities of Snow Creek village, Vista Grande, Mt. Edna, Poppet Flats, Twin Pines, Silent Valley as well as portions of Cabazon - Peach Street, Plum Street, Eucalyptus Street, and Riza Avenue, Ida Avenue, Helen Avenue East to Elm Street.

Evacuation Centers have been set up at:
Hemet High School 41701 East Stetson Avenue Hemet, CA
Beaumont High School 39139 Cherry Valley Boulevard Beaumont, CA

Animal Evacuation:
San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus 581 South Grand Avenue San Jacinto, CA

Latest Story:

BEAUMONT, Calif. (AP) — A spokesman for the firefighting effort says any progress that's being made against a wildfire in a rugged Southern California mountain range is being erased by the fire's rapid expansion.

It's now estimated at 15 ½ square miles, after growing about six square miles overnight. Some of the 1,500 residents who had to leave their homes say the fast-moving flames didn't give them much time to get out. One woman said she was rushing to pack belongings when firefighters arrived at her home. She ended up leaving with only her pet cockatiel in its cage, and a bag of important papers.

The flames are threatening as many as 600 homes. The battle to control the flames involves a thousand firefighters, 13 helicopters and six air tankers.

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier version, read below.

BANNING, Calif. (AP / CBS 8) - San Diego fire crews have joined the fight against an out-of-control wildfire in Riverside County. The blaze is growing with great speed and has burned homes and forced the evacuations of about 1,500 residents and campers. Three people including two firefighters have been injured.

The fire broke out about 2 p.m. near Banning and surged to at least 6,000 acres, or more than 9 square miles, within a few hours, state fire officials said.

One civilian was burned and airlifted to a hospital, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement. Two firefighters were also injured and both were taken to hospitals by ambulance. Officials would give no further details on the injuries.

Fire officials said about a dozen structures were damaged or destroyed, but could not say how many were homes. Footage from TV news helicopters and photos from the scene showed several houses in flames.

They include the Twin Pines home of Dave Clark, whose parents were killed in a house fire in Riverside in April 2012 the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. Prosecutors alleged Clark's sister Deborah Clark set the fire, and she was awaiting a mental-competency hearing to see if she was competent to stand trial for her parents' murder in a case that has received extensive local media coverage.

A photograph taken by the Desert Sun newspaper showed Clark talking on his cellphone with the home fully engulfed in flames behind him.

"He said he lost everything, he couldn't talk," brother Jeff Clark told the Press-Enterprise.

About 800 people evacuated the Silent Valley Club, a private RV resort, state fire spokesman Lucas Spelman said.

About 700 more were under evacuation order in the rural communities of Poppet Flats, Twin Pines, Edna Valley and Vista Grande, and evacuation centers were set up at high schools in Hemet and Banning. The communities are in the San Jacinto Mountains along Interstate 10 some 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

Margaret Runnels of Poppet Flats was at work when her house came under an evacuation order. She was in Banning waiting for her husband to collect pets and valuables from their house.

"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," a crying Runnels told the Desert Sun. "You always tell yourself to prepare everything but you never take the stupid time to do it."

Some residents and sheriff's deputies helping them evacuate were temporarily left without an escape route when both sides of State Route 243 were blocked by the fire, forcing them to take shelter in place.

"There was an area in there that got trapped in the middle," state fire spokeswoman Julie Hutchinson said.

They were later able to safely evacuate, according to state fire spokeswoman Jody Hagemann, who said she had no further details.

More than 500 firefighters, helped by five helicopters and five air tankers, were working to protect homes and get ahead of the flames. All but three helicopters were grounded after night fall but were set to return to the air Thursday morning.

Temperatures in the area were in the high 80s and low 90s on Wednesday, with winds blowing up to 20 mph.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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