A wind-driven wildfire burned 120 hectares of brush Monday, torching stacks of pallets in an industrial yard, threatening as many as 100 homes and choking the sky with gray smoke.
The fire was 30 percent contained at midmorning, said San Bernardino County fire spokeswoman Tracey Martinez. More than 150 firefighters moved in with trucks on the ground and planes and helicopters flew over the blaze making waterdrops.
The cause was under investigation. The fire started around 7:30 a.m. near Interstate 15 north ofRialto. A portion of the highway was closed. Flames burned dangerously close to 100 homes, prompting officials to call for voluntary evacuationsthere. Firefighters moved quickly to douse spot fires as erratic 50 km/h winds with60 km/h gusts blew embers across the area.
The fire, burning just northeast of a large neighborhood, overran the industrial pallet yard and was near a golfcourse. Rialto is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. The fire was burning near the junction of interstates 215 and 15, the main road from Southern California to Las Vegas.The blaze at the foot of the Cajon Pass was driven by Santa Anas, the fierce winds that plague the region each fall.Five U.S. Forest Service firefighters died last month when a wind-driven, arson-caused fire overtook them in the rural community of Twin Pines in neighboring RiversideCounty. That fire destroyed 34 homes and burned 16,200 hectares northwest of Palm Springs.
Latest GOES-11 image:
This multispectral combined image was taken on 6 November 2006 and shows the wind-fueled wildfireburning 120 hectares of brush in San Bernardino County. Flames burned dangerously close to homes. The fire started around 7:30 a.m. on6 November near Interstate 15 north of Rialto.