Fire forces So Cal home evacuations, closes freeway
HESPERIA, Calif. -- A fast-moving wildfire erupted Friday on the main interstate between Southern California and Las Vegas, temporarily closing the freeway to holiday weekend traffic, forcing evacuations of nearby homes and surging through hundreds of acres of desert brush.
The fire began at around 1 p.m. on the center divider of Interstate 15 in the Cajon Pass. It quickly grew to more than 500 acres in two hours, jumping the freeway and burning chaparral in rolling hills that form the nearby San Bernardino National Forest and unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County, U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller said.
An evacuation was ordered as the fire moved northwest toward large ranch homes in the Oak Hills area. Fire crews were placed to defend the houses, Miller said.
"There's million-dollar homes up there," Victorville resident Tom Woods told KCAL-TV.
The Oak Hills area contains hundreds of recently built luxury horse properties spread over the hills, Woods said.
Woods said he could see a huge plume of smoke from his home 10 miles away.
The fire initially closed all freeway lanes, snarling traffic as drivers struggled to start their Labor Day weekend getaways. Northbound lanes were reopened with escort by the California Highway Patrol as the fire burned away from traffic lanes.
Television news reports showed plumes of white smoke and a long line of fire running over scrub-dotted ridges. Flames burned within yards of some homes.
Miller said a firefighter was hurt, but he didn't know the extent of the injury. One motorist suffered smoke inhalation.
About a dozen aircraft, including a DC-10 jumbo jet tanker, were called in to help fight the flames.
- 4.4 earthquake shakes Los Angeles area 34 min ago
- Crimea declares independence, seizes property 41 min ago
- Merced PD looks for witnesses to deadly shooting
- LA police say no leads in abduction of 4 kids 51 min ago
- Final words from jet came after systems shutdown
- Teen mom speaks after infant son's nose bitten off
- Final Crimea count: 97 percent back Russia
- Los Angeles police get loaner Lamborghini
- Ukrainians in Fresno react to Crimea vote
- Child may be to blame for Fresno garage fire
- Crash sends Fresno police car into canal
- 16 killed in stampedes for jobs in Nigeria
- Merced police seek help to catch armed robber
- Magnitude-6.7 quake hits Chile's northern coast
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos