Story at a glance
- A wildfire beginning last Friday has prompted mass evacuations in Riverside County in Southern California.
- It is about 5 percent contained.
Following the good news that coronavirus cases are showing signs of slowing across parts of the Sun Belt, such as in Southern California, the Apple Wildfire has relentlessly scorched parts of Riverside County since Friday, now amounting to 20,516 acres of burned land, roughly 31 square miles.
As of Friday, more than 2,500 homes were advised to evacuate, amounting to about 8,000 people.
CBS Los Angeles reports that firefighters said the flames were only 5 percent contained as of Sunday night as the fire rolls into its third day of activity. The fire is believed to have begun out of three separate fires as Southern California battles a record-breaking heat wave with temperatures soaring to about 120 degrees.
Areas such as Cherry Valley, Banning and further into the San Bernardino National Forest are in the center of the wildfire. More than 1,300 California firefighters have been deployed to guard residences in affected areas. Two helicopters dropping water onto the blazes were also called in.
Experts with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection have tracked the fire to Mount San Gorgonio, where officials are letting the flames burn the side of the 11,000-foot peak. The conditions of the landscape are reportedly too dangerous for firefighters to work.
“Given the fuel, given the weather, given the topography and where this is going, this fire is not going to stop tonight, it's going to keep going,” Lisa Cox, a spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service, told reporters.
Across the country, East Coast states await the potential landfall of Tropical Storm Isaias, formerly Hurricane Isaias. After just grazing Florida, the storm is headed north to the Carolinas, where it is expected to generate stronger winds.