California Wildfire Injures Three, Hundreds Ordered to Evacuate


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — A rapidly expanding fire in the inland area of Banning, Calif., has left at least three people — two firefighters and one civilian — with injuries.

The wind-whipped wildfire is raging out of control in the San Jacinto Mountains near Banning.  As of Thursday morning, it has burned 10,000 acres, destroying 15 structures in its tracks.

Approximately 1,500 people were told to leave their homes Wednesday night.  Evacuations were ordered for the communities of Vista Grande, Mt. Edna, Poppet Flats, Twin Pines, and Silent Valley as well as portions of Cabazon, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDFFP).

“This fire has been moving very quickly and we discovered that first hand because as we were going on the [Highway] 243 trying to get to Twin Pines, suddenly the flames just jumped up in front of us as we were trying to make a corner we could see the orange glow all around us,” Carlos Grande, who is near the fire line near Banning, told ABC News.

Two firefighters were taken to hospitals by ambulance, and a burned civilian was airlifted out, state fire officials said.  No further details on the injuries were given.

A total of 1,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, utilizing 84 fire engines and six air tankers, according to the CDFFP.  Evacuation centers have been set up in Beaumont, Calif. and Hemet, Calif.

Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson with the CDFFP said that firefighters are working tirelessly.

“It’s going to be a long night out here,” he said.  “We’ve got to get those hand crews, got to keep pushing through cutting that hand line.  We are going to have some night flying aircraft that are going to be assisting us.”

As of Thursday morning, the fire was 10 percent contained.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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