AN EXPLOSIVE wildfire has engulfed more than 25,000 acres across California with tens of thousands forced to leave their homes.
The ferocious flames, burning with an intensity firefighters say they have never seen before, have turned the sky red as they consume everything in sight, leaving home owners and locals devastated.
San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said the scene was devastating.
He said: “There will be a lot of families that come home to nothing.
“It hit hard. It hit fast. It hit with an intensity that we hadn’t seen before.”
The cause of the fire has not yet been established but it is believed to have ignited in the dry brush that has been plagued by drought over the past few years.
By Wednesday, barely four per cent of the blaze had been contained with local news reporting the fire was burning across an area the size of San Francisco.
No deaths have been reported but cadaver dogs have been called in.
More than 1300 firefighters have been trying to fight the so-called Blue Cut fire.
Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries after being temporarily trapped by the flames.
They are part of the huge firefighting effort with authorities calling in 10 air tankers and 15 helicopters to try to contain the devastation of the fire.
But despite their efforts, homes and businesses have already fallen victim to the flames with a McDonald’s and the Summit Inn, a famous roadside diner on the famous Route 66 burned.
April Christy told CBS News that while she had lived through a major brushfire years before, the blaze was like nothing else she had ever seen.
She said: “We were literally being chased by the fire.
“You’ve got flames on the side of you, you’ve got flames behind you.”
An onsite caretaker at the Angels and Paws animal rescue shelter, she said and her mother had raced down the mountain road with the fire exploding all around them.
But authorities are concerned with the worst of the state’s wildfire season yet to come with September and October particularly hot and dry with predicted winds also helping any fires to spread.
The family is just one of thousands left unsure if their home survived.
A US Forest Service spokeswoman said about half of those in the evacuation area had not left.
She said the decision made by locals to stay and fight changed the way firefighters were able to fight the blaze as they had to be concerned about whether there were people nearby.
Recent fires have killed eight people in California.
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