A wildfire near Big Bear in California’s San Bernardino National Forest has exploded in size, as hot, dry conditions fuel the flames. The forest fire started Wednesday afternoon but grew to 10,000 acres in less than 24 hours, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It was only about 5 percent contained, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The fire had grown large enough that radars were picking up the smoke plume. According to weather.com meteorologist Ari Sarsalari, the plume stretched about 200 miles.
The Associated Press reports nearly 200 campers, most of them children, were evacuated from several wilderness sites. Twenty to 25 homes were evacuated as the fire grew.
A stretch of State Route 38, the main mountain artery, and several other roads were closed. Caltrans asked drivers to use State Route 330 and State Route 18 as alternate routes.
Temperatures Thursday were in the mid 70s, with low humidity and wind gusts around 16 mph – conditions that won’t work in the favor of firefighters, particularly in bone-dry California, which is in the middle of a historic drought.
A separate Southern California fire near the community of Thermal burned at least three homes Thursday.
No injuries were reported in either fire.