A wildfire fueled by high winds in Santa Ana tore through rural land southeast of Los Angeles on Monday and forced about 4,000 people from their homes, fire officials said.
The so-called Highland Fire broke out shortly after noon in the dry, covered hills near the village of Aguanga in Riverside County, California.
By late Monday night, it had spread over about 2 square miles of land, fire spokesman Jeff LaRusso said.
About 4,000 residents in 1,300 homes are under evacuation orders, he said.
The fire destroyed three buildings and damaged six others, but it was unclear if any homes were involved. The region is sparsely populated, but has horse ranches and a large lot for mobile homes, LaRusso said.
No injuries were reported.
Winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour, with some stronger gusts, pushed the flames and embers of grass and brush dry from the fresh air and low humidity, so it ” almost like burning.” ” for the fire. , LaRusso said.
Winds are expected to die down overnight and firefighters will try to extinguish the fire, LaRusso said.
But he added: “The wind triumphs over everything. I hope the prophecy comes true. ”
A large tanker truck, excavators and other resources were called in to fight the blaze, one of the few large, active fires that have broken out so far in California’s year-long fire season, LaRusso said.
Southern California experienced its first significant wind conditions in Santa Ana. This strong, hot, dry, dust-laden air usually descends on the Pacific Coast from inland desert regions during the fall. They fueled some of the largest and most destructive wildfires in recent California history.
The National Weather Service said Riverside County could see winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour through Tuesday, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour.
The weather service has issued a red flag warning of severe fire danger through Tuesday afternoon for parts of Los Angeles and Riverside counties.