On Monday, a wildfire ignited by strong Santa Ana winds tore through rural land in the southeastern region of Los Angeles, leading to the evacuation of approximately 4,000 individuals from their homes, according to fire officials.
At approximately 12:45 p.m., a wildfire known as the Highland Fire broke out in the dry and brushy hills near the unincorporated Riverside County community of Aguanga.
According to Jeff LaRusso, a fire spokesman, as of Monday night, the fire had already covered approximately 2 square miles of land.
According to him, around 4,000 residents and 1,300 homes have been instructed to evacuate.
According to reports, three buildings were destroyed and six were damaged by the fire. It is still unclear whether any of the affected buildings were homes. Although the region has low population density, there are several horse ranches and a significant mobile home site in the vicinity, as stated by LaRusso.
There were no reported injuries.
According to LaRusso, the fire was fueled by winds blowing at a speed of 20 to 25 miles per hour, accompanied by occasional gusts which further intensified the inferno. The dryness of the grass and bushes, due to recent winds and low humidity, made them almost like kindling, resulting in the rapid spread of flames and embers.
According to LaRusso, the wind was predicted to calm down during the night, which would allow fire crews to try and contain the fire.
However, he went on to say, “Wind is the most important factor in this situation. I hope that the forecast remains accurate.”
According to LaRusso, the recent fire in California’s year-round fire season was quite a challenge to contain, and required the deployment of a large air tanker, bulldozers, and other resources. This was one of the few large and active blazes that have occurred so far in the season.
For the first time in Southern California, the Santa Ana wind condition was becoming a significant concern. These winds are known for their strength, heat, and dryness, and carry dust particles as they move from the inland desert regions towards the Pacific Coast during the autumn season. Over the years, they have been responsible for some of the most devastating fires in California’s history causing severe damage to the region.
According to the National Weather Service, Riverside County is expected to experience wind speeds ranging from 15 to 25 mph until Tuesday. Wind gusts could reach up to 40 miles per hour. To highlight the severity of the situation, the weather service has issued a red flag warning for extreme fire danger in certain areas of Los Angeles and Riverside counties until Tuesday afternoon.