Firefighters from the Pasadena Fire Department perform structural protection during the Apple fire in Banning, California on August 1, 2020 while flames sparkle on a hill behind a house. August 1.
Josh Eldelson | AFP | Getty Images
Wildfire in southern California quickly spread to 12,000 acres on Saturday, destroying at least one house and two buildings, and forcing 7,800 people to evacuate.
The Apple fire in Riverside County, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, was fought by 375 firefighters with dozens of fire trucks and air support. But it stayed 0 percent Saturday night.
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When it moved north to San Bernardino County, evacuation orders were issued for two areas, Potato Canyon and Oak Glen, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
Rob Roseen, CalFire spokesman, said that more than 2,500 homes and approximately 7,800 residents were subject to mandatory evacuations.
According to the National Weather Service, firefighters worked in scorching heat, which reached 107 degrees on Saturday. About an hour southwest in the Coachella Valley, the temperatures reached 120 degrees.
"At this point, we are establishing control lines and expect some containment by tomorrow morning," said Ty Davis, CalFire department head.
"We are currently in the extended attack phase of the fire," said Davis on Saturday. "The public and residents alike can expect additional fire department resources inside and outside the area."
The flame was first reported as two small, separate fires on Friday night near Cherry Valley. However, the two outbreaks increased exponentially within a few hours, prompting the authorities to issue the first evacuation orders by 7:30 p.m. for areas around the neighboring towns of Banning and Beaumont.
The National Weather Service warned that the Southwest would be exposed to hot and dry conditions with low humidity and gusty winds until late Sunday. All of these components added up to the strong fire weather potential.