Firefighters struggle to contain blaze in California

Firefighters struggle to contain blaze in California

More than 1,300 firefighters were battling a blaze that was burning out of control Sunday in southern California, threatening thousands of people and homes east of Los Angeles.

The blaze began as two adjacent fires reported Friday evening in Cherry Valley, an unincorporated area near the city of Beaumont about 85 miles (137 kilometres) east of downtown Los Angeles.

Thousands of homes remain threatened and almost 8,000 people have been evacuated due to the incident, which is made up of two distinct fires.

The U.S. Forest Service says the majority of the area covering the northern and eastern edges of the fire is very steep and rugged, making it hard for crews to access the area with vehicles. The cause is under investigation.

By Saturday morning, the blaze had more than doubled in size, to 1,900 acres.

A small plane sprays fire retardant over the California mountains to help stop the spread.

There were no reports of casualties, and the only damage so far has been to two buildings and one home. No injuries have been reported. Hundreds of people in foothill neighborhoods north of Beaumont fell under mandatory evacuation orders. Terrain is the biggest, said Lisa Cox, the fire information officer for the San Bernardino National Forest.

The mercury hit 105 degrees in Palm Springs Saturday afternoon.

In a tweet, the National Weather Service said some smoke had blown east to Phoenix, Arizona - almost 482 km away. Two structures were destroyed but officials said it was unclear whether they were homes.

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