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An out-of-control fire is ravaging California as we speak, forcing thousands to evacuate. Flames roared overnight into the hillside and into the communities of Cherry Valley, Banning and into the San Bernardino National Forest, and is showing few signs of slowing down.
The blaze began as two adjacent fires reported Friday evening in Cherry Valley, an area near the city of Beaumont about 85 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
No injuries have been reported so far, but some 8,000 people have been evacuated from the area.
Firefighters in tackling the blaze confirmed it has been five percent contained as of Monday morning, after breaking on out on Friday, July 31.
More than 1,300 firefighters, backed by helicopters and water-dumping planes, have been tackling the blaze
Parts of the fire are on steep, rugged hillsides that are common in the sunshine state, making it hard for firefighters to reach.
What is the Apple Fire?
Apple Fire does not refer to a specific type of fire – rather it is the name of this particular fire in California.
Fires typically are named by the dispatch centre that sends the first responders to the fire, though sometimes they are named by the first firefighters on the scene, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The name comes from a geographical location, such as a local landmark, street, lake, mountain, or peak.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are some fire names that should be avoided.
This includes naming a fire after a person, private property or a company, or naming a fire after another catastrophic fire (one that experienced fatalities or high property losses, for instance).
How did the fire start?
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but some investigators have reported it was caused by a malfunctioning vehicle.
The blaze has been fuelled by high temperatures, low humidity and dry vegetation in the area.
The US Forest Service told the Riverside Press-Enterprise, a local newspaper, that because the fire was on rugged terrain, it was dangerous for firefighters to try and tackle it.
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“We don’t want to put firefighters in a dangerous situation,” said spokesperson Lisa Cox.
“It’s burning in a straight line up a mountain.”
California is, unfortunately, no stranger to such disasters.
California has dry, windy, and often hot weather conditions from spring through to late autumn which are a perfect breeding ground for fires to start.
More than 350,000 people in California live in towns sited completely within zones deemed to be at very high risk of fire.
In total, more than 2.7 million people live in “very high fire hazard severity zones”, which also include areas at lesser risk.
The deadliest wildfire was in 2018, called Camp Fire, in which 86 people died and more than 18,000 structures were destroyed.
The fire destroyed an entire town, named Paradise, which still remains deserted today.
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