A vegetation fire sparked apocalyptic images as it spread to Interstate 15 on Friday afternoon. The fire trapped hundreds of drivers near Cajon Pass, about 55 miles from Los Angeles, wrecking 20 cars out of which a couple even exploded.
The fire apparently started underneath Interstate 15, as extremely dry grass resulting from the ongoing drought caught fire under high temperatures. The initially small fire was spread by winds blowing at 40 mph onto a hill near the highway, and then spread with rapid advance onto Interstate 15, were it trapped drivers from almost all direction.
„We were surrounded by the flames. They were to the left, then in front of us and they came around to the right. We were in a big horseshoe in the middle” said Russell Allevato, who was travelling with his family to Las Vegas when their car was caught in the jam caused by the fire.
Two people suffered minor injuries in the incident, suffering from carbon monoxide inhalation, but did not necessitate medical treatment. 20 cars were destroyed and a couple of others suffered various degrees of damage, as drivers were forced to flee their vehicles and their possessions in face of the raging fires.
Highway patrolmen who arrived on site have reportedly said that this was the fastest spreading fire they have ever seen, leaving people no choice but to flee for their lives. The massive fire also spread into a nearby rural community called Baldy Mesa, where 4 houses were burned.
As of Saturday morning, intervention teams are still struggling to contain the rapidly spreading fire, while the wind continues spreading. Fortunately, it is mostly spreaded into uninhabited or uncirculated areas for the moment.
In an unrelated incident, another massive vegetation fire started in Southern California, this time in the forests of San Gabriel Mountains, threatening to spread into the local community of Wrightwood. Members of Girl Scout troop stationed in the vicinity evacuated their campground, while other 300 campers were also evacuated by local authorities.
This is one of the most extreme consequences of the serious drought California is going through at the moment. A recent analysis has shown that the drought is the worst experienced by the state in over a century, and the only hopes of it ending anytime soon would be very rain-heavy fall and winter seasons.
Image Source: Reuters