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article imageCalifornia 'Blue Cut Fire' explodes to engulf over 30,000 acres

By Karen Graham     Aug 17, 2016 in Environment
A fire that started out as a small patch alongside the road next to Interstate 15 in Cajun Pass on Tuesday morning has exploded in the hot and dry conditions, growing to over 30,000 acres in just 24 hours.
The smoke and haze created by the massive wildfire casts an eerie orange glow to the sky as sheriff's deputies go door-to-door on Wednesday, asking people to leave areas under threat from the still highly volatile and uncontained Blue Cut Fire.
The fire which started in Cajun Pass Tuesday morning had scorched 15,000 acres by nightfall as it roared through the drought-parched canyons of Southern California. By nightfall, the flames were licking at the ridges, sending walls of flame 50 to 100 feet into the sky. Gathering strength, the inferno exploded, burning an additional 15,000 or more acres by Wednesday morning, according to ABC News.
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Fox News reported on Wednesday that Eric Sherwin of the San Bernardino County Fire Department says nearly 24 square miles of chaparral and grasslands have been turned to ashes, along with outbuildings and homes. "I can confirm that we've lost structures, both residential and commercial. I'm looking up here and I'm seeing buses, I'm seeing outbuildings, I'm seeing houses."
In a press conference Wednesday morning, San Bernadino County Sheriff John McMahon, said the evacuation area has grown further to the west, and additional people were being asked to leave the area. "When those officers ask you to leave, we ask that you do leave and not shelter in place," McMahon said. "We would hate for the fire to overrun tour neighborhood and you be stuck inside and not have a way out."
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California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency owing to the size and volatility of the wildfire, freeing up needed resources to fight the blaze. Over 82,000 people have been evacuated and 35,000 homes are in danger. Six firefighters were briefly trapped and had to shelter in place when flames moved in while they were trying to help families evacuate.
"We were fully engulfed in smoke," firefighter Cody Anderson told KCBS-TV, as reported by the Weather Channel. "It was really hard just to see your hand in front of your face. We just hunkered down and sat there and waited for the fire to blow over."
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