The devastating Blue Cut Fire that has destroyed 96 homes and scorched almost 58 square miles, or 37,000 acres, in San Bernardino County, authorities said Friday, the fourth day of the blaze.
Original Post: (AP) - Firefighters in Southern California have made their biggest gains yet against the powerful Blue Cut Fire that has raged out of control for much of the week.
At a dawn briefing, half the firefighters raised their hands when an official asked how many had just come from the earlier blaze, part of a siege of wildland infernos up and down California this year.
The fire was 26 percent contained Friday morning, the AP said.
Residents of 7,000 other homes in the Cajon Pass area were still potentially in the path of the fire, which is burning in heavy brush, and they remained under evacuation orders, Lopez said.
A burned out residence stands amid rubble on Highway 138 after the Blue Cut Fire burned through Phelan, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Veteran firefighters and career fire managers have said the blaze is behaving like nothing they've ever seen.
Officials have begun to tally some of the substantial damage done by the blaze, San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said at a news conference.
Fire spokesman Brad Pitassi says some of the almost 1,600 personnel working the blaze will be demobilized Friday afternoon.
The massive fire about 70 miles east of Los Angeles is affecting Cajon Pass, Lytle Creek, Wrightwood, Oak Hills and surrounding areas. A preliminary damage assessment found 105 homes and 216 outbuildings destroyed across the rural, mountainous area where large swaths of land have been blackened.
The cause of the fire has been deemed arson.
"Emotions are still incredibly raw from the Valley Fire", said state Sen.
The Blue Cat Fire has disrupted transport links between California and Nevada.
No deaths have been reported, although two firefighters surrounded by flames on Tuesday sustained minor injuries.
Michael Eberle, a resident of the affected area, said his family packed everything they needed to survive outside of the house, including a folder of important papers in preparation for their evacuation. However, officials say they were able to increase containment on the blaze overnight. Still, gusty winds, high temperatures and low humidity persist and could create the same challenges that have haunted crews since the fire broke out Tuesday. Vegetation that dry behaved nearly like firewood, Sean Collins of the Kern County Fire Department told the AP. Tragically, the Habitat for Humanity office was working to raise money to help rebuild homes destroyed by a devastating wildfire that killed four people and destroyed more than 1,300 homes almost a year ago.