California is not unaccustomed to raging fires, but the Blue Cut Fire that has burned across the San Bernardino hills is believed to be one of the deadliest the state has ever seen.
The raging fires cover nearly 50 square miles, and over 80,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. It first sprang to life on Tuesday, and while firefighters have been able to slow the progress of the fire, Thursday still saw a widespread inferno ravaging the land. Only 4 percent of the fire has been contained, so the reports claim, and the governor of California has declared a state of emergency.
“It hit hard,” said county Fire Chief Mark Hartwig to the Associated Press. “It hit fast. It hit with an intensity we hadn’t seen before.”
Despite its wild, unpredictable nature, nearly half of the full 82,000 people in danger of the flames have remained in their homes. This, according to the U.S Forest Service, is a cause for concern because there is now more to protect than just infrastructure.
“It does change the way that we can fight fire,” said spokeswoman Lyn Sieliet. “Now we have to worry about the people in there as well as trying to protect the structures and trying to build a line of defense as the fire comes toward that area.”
The origins of the fire remains to be seen. 700 firefighters are battling the blaze, and the speed of which it burns has made it hard to predict. The overload of smoke and ash has made both breathing and seeing difficult, and for a place that has experienced countless fires before, this one is the first of its kind.
“In my 40 years of fighting fire, I’ve never seen fire behavior so extreme,” Incident Commander Mike Wakoski told the Associated Press.
There are no reported fatalities.
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