Interstate 15 shut down for rapidly growing fire

Firefighters battle the Bluecut Fire along Swarthout Canyon Road in the Cajon Pass, north of San Bernardino, Calif., Tuesday. Officials with the San Bernardino National Forest say five years of drought coupled with dry, hot weather have turned the entire area into a tinder box. San Bernardino County, California, Aug. 16, 2016 | Photo by Will Lester/The Sun via AP, St. George News

UPDATE: KNBC in Los Angeles has reported that of 6:45 p.m. PDT the fire has grown to 9,000 acres.

A new wildfire spread through a Southern California desert Tuesday at a staggering pace, growing to 10 square miles in a matter of hours and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people in a mountain resort town.

Firefighters battle the Bluecut Fire along Swarthout Canyon Road in the Cajon Pass, north of San Bernardino, Calif., Tuesday. Officials with the San Bernardino National Forest say five years of drought coupled with dry, hot weather have turned the entire area into a tinder box. San Bernardino County, California, Aug. 16, 2016 | Photo by Will Lester/The Sun via AP, St. George News
Firefighters battle the Bluecut Fire along Swarthout Canyon Road in the Cajon Pass, north of San Bernardino, Calif., Tuesday. Officials with the San Bernardino National Forest say five years of drought coupled with dry, hot weather have turned the entire area into a tinder box. San Bernardino County, California, Aug. 16, 2016 | Photo by Will Lester/The Sun via AP, St. George News

The Associated Press reports the 6,500 acre blaze 60 miles east of Los Angeles has burned what appear to be several ranch outbuildings and forced evacuations in and around Lytle Creek, while closing several major highways into Los Angeles, including Interstate 15 south of Hesperia, California.

Flames could be seen snaking along ridges above the communities which are home to several dozen large homes and horse ranches.

The mountain community of Wrightwood, home to 4,500 people, is under a mandatory evacuation order as the fire grows. News helicopters in the area have shown several homes and structures being destroyed by the fast-moving blaze.

Officials with the San Bernardino National Forest told the Associated Press that five years of drought coupled with dry, hot weather have turned the entire area into a tinder box.

A horse ranch in Phelan, just outside of Victorville, was in the path of the fire about 60 miles east of Los Angeles — just as it was for another fire in the area a year ago.

“Breathing smoke again, just like last year,” Shannon Anderson, a partner in the Blue Mountain Farms ranch, said to the Associated Press as she panted into the telephone. “It’s raining ash.”

Ranch hands used hoses to wet down fences and anything else that could burn.

Six firefighters protecting homes were briefly trapped by flames and in serious danger before they took shelter in a safe structure, the San Bernardino County Fire Department said in a statement. Two sustained minor injuries and were quickly treated and released from a hospital.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: rwayman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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