Southern California wildfire forces nearly 8,000 out of their homes

Nearly 8,000 residents of Riverside County in Southern California were forced to leave their homes on Saturday as a wildfire spread uncontained across more than 1,600 hectares, the county fire department said.

The fire, dubbed the Apple Fire by local firefighters — who routinely give blazes identifying names — was reported Friday in Cherry Valley, a community about 120 kilometres east of Los Angeles and had destroyed at least one family home as of Saturday evening.

Photographs shared by the Riverside County fire department on Twitter on Saturday showed thick plumes of smoke filling the sky over the mountainous region.

Residents of 2,586 homes, totalling around 7,800 people, had been told to leave their homes, the department said.

The fire had grown from about 280 hectares on Friday evening to nearly 1,670 hectares by Saturday evening and was zero per cent contained, according to the county fire department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

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