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A brush fire, being dubbed the Cranston fire, has broken out near the Riverside County community of Idyllwild on Wednesday, prompting evacuations. All of Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Fern Valley are being told to evacuate.
According to San Bernardino National Forest officials, the fire is fast-moving and has grown to 3,000 acres as of 6 p.m. local time, with 0 percent of the fire contained. Highway 74 between Cranston Fire Station and Lake Hemet and Highway 243 between Pine Cove and Mountain Cent have been closed off.
Officials said a total of approximately 500 personnel are battling the blaze. An evacuation center has been set up at Banning High School. The fire started sometime around noon.
At least four homes burned as crews used aircraft to attack the flames that quickly burned nearly five square miles (12 square kilometers) of dry brush and timber in inaccessible terrain. No injuries were reported.
Officers detained a motorist for questioning after people called 911 to report a suspicious vehicle near the fire’s starting point in Riverside County, the California Highway Patrol said.
As his neighbors tried to corral dogs and horses, William Blodgett fled when flames hopped a highway near his home in Idyllwild.
“We were all peeling out of there as fast as we could,” he told KNBC-TV. “It was apocalyptic.”
The fire is one of several across California amid a statewide heat wave. To the north, in the San Francisco Bay Area, at least one home burned in a fast-moving blaze in Clayton, where houses are spread out around windy roads. Tuesday it was also announced that the heart of Yosemite Park would be closing as more than 3,300 firefighters are working a nearby fire there, aided by 16 helicopters. One firefighter was killed July 14, and six others have been injured.
July 25, 6:33 p.m. Updated to include the fire’s growth to 3,000 acres.
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