Hundreds fleefast-moving CA wildfire

Four firefighters are dead after a huge southern California wildfire trapped them in their fire engine. The fast-moving blaze has now spread to 24,000 acres.

BY HEATHER MOYER | CABAZON, Calif. | October 27, 2006


Four firefighters are dead after a huge southern California wildfire trapped them in their fire engine. The fast-moving blaze has now spread to 24,000 acres and burned 10 homes.

Another firefighter in that Forest Service crew was critically burned. Fire officials suspect arson is the cause of the Esperanza wildfire spreading quickly near the town of Cabazon in Riverside County. The powerful Santa Ana winds helped the blaze quickly spread from a tiny fire when it started early Thursday into the huge hazard it's become now.

The fire has destroyed 10 homes and officials say they have little to no containment of the fire thus far. Another 500 homes are threatened.

Some 300 to 400 homes in the Twin Pines, Poppet Flats, Vista Grand, and South Banning areas are under a mandatory evacuation as more than 1,100 firefighters battle the blaze.

A nearby high school is serving as the evacuation shelter. Numerous area roads are closed off as well.

Investigators are asking anyone with information on how the fire started to call the local arson tip line.


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Related Links:

California Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protection

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