1,800 flee California wildfire


LOS ANGELES: A thousand Californian firefighters are battling a blaze east of Los Angeles that has injured five people and forced 1,800 to flee their homes, authorities said on Thursday.

Those hurt in the fire—estimated to cover 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares)—include four firefighters and a civilian, the Riverside County Fire Department said.

The civilian victim was wounded Wednesday and airlifted to a burn center, Fire Chief John Hawkins told reporters.

Fifteen buildings were destroyed in the city of Banning, 90 miles (150 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, officials said.

Thirteen helicopters and six planes are in use to fight the fire, which is only 10 percent contained and has sparked the evacuation of 1,800 people in several towns near Banning.

Authorities have not determined what sparked the flames.

Smoke has reached the international airport of Palm Springs, but the runways remain open, director Tom Nolan told reporters.

The effort to douse the flames is being complicated by high temperatures, very low humidity and wind gusts, weather forecasters said.



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