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Massive Blue Cut fire in Southern California destroys 96 homes

Firefighters have had considerable success in corralling the flames after the blaze exploded out of the Cajon Pass area on Tuesday and quickly spread across 58 square miles of mountain and desert lands.

More than 80,000 people, primarily living in small communities, have been evacuated, according to the Associated Press.

The fire was 26 percent contained Friday morning, the AP said.

Maricopa Fire Department spokesman Brad Pitassi from Arizona said many of the 1,600 firefighters called to battle the blaze as it raced over miles of bone-dry forest and grass lands would be sent home later Friday if the situation continued to improve.

Pitassi said there still was a possibility of unexpected behavior from the fire since the landscape was so dry from five years of drought.

Vegetation that dry behaved almost like firewood, Sean Collins of the Kern County Fire Department told the AP.

“It burns that much quicker, that much hotter,” Collins said.

“The rate of travel is extremely fast,” he said.

Evacuees are being cared for at the Jessie Turner Community Center in Fontana and the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported Friday that many road closures caused by the Blue Cut fire remain in effect, including State Highway 38 from Interstate 15 to Summit Valley Road, the southbound connector to U.S. 395, State Route 2 from the Los Angeles County line to S.R. 138, and S.R. 138 from the L.A. County line to S.R. 173.

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