USA

Apple Fire spreads in California with less than 5 percent contained

Thick, dry brush, steep terrain and unruly weather have hampered efforts to stamp out the massive wildfire in Southern California that’s burned through more than 20,000 acres, according to a new report.

The Apple Fire is less than 5 percent contained as of Monday morning, with evacuation orders remaining in place for parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, Cal Fire said.

Lisa Cox, the fire information officer for the San Bernardino National Forest, said more than 2,200 smoke eaters are dealing with a number of issues.

“We’ve got extremely steep, rugged terrain,” Cox told CNN. “We have many different drainages that are all kind of intersecting together and that creates these funneling effects of different wind patterns and creates more erratic fire behavior.

“And with that, we have very thick brush including this really flammable ecosystem called chaparral that likes to burn and it hasn’t burned here in a long time,” Cox added.

She said high temperatures and wind gusts have also created its own weather system that’s contributing to the spread of the blaze.

'Apple Fire' in Riverside County, California
'Apple Fire' in Riverside County, California
Officials try to extinguish the 'Apple Fire', near Beaumont, in Riverside County, California.

EPA

'Apple Fire' in Riverside County, California
'Apple Fire' in Riverside County, California
Officials try to extinguish the 'Apple Fire', near Beaumont, in Riverside County, California.

EPA

'Apple Fire' burns in Banning California
'Apple Fire' burns in Banning California
Officials try to extinguish the 'Apple Fire', near Beaumont, in Riverside County, California.

EPA

'Apple Fire' in Riverside County, California
'Apple Fire' in Riverside County, California
Officials try to extinguish the 'Apple Fire', near Beaumont, in Riverside County, California.

EPA

California Wildfires
California Wildfires
Officials try to extinguish the 'Apple Fire', near Beaumont, in Riverside County, California.

AP

California Wildfires
California Wildfires
Officials try to extinguish the 'Apple Fire', near Beaumont, in Riverside County, California.

AP

California Wildfires
California Wildfires
Officials try to extinguish the 'Apple Fire', near Beaumont, in Riverside County, California.

AP

California Wildfires
California Wildfires
Officials try to extinguish the 'Apple Fire', near Beaumont, in Riverside County, California.

AP

California Wildfires
California Wildfires
Officials try to extinguish the 'Apple Fire', near Beaumont, in Riverside County, California.

AP

“It actually creates this updraft of smoke ash and flame and it creates this huge cloud and it has a down draft that actually spreads out in all 360 directions around the fire,” Cox said.

The cause of the fire, which began Friday, is under investigation. Nearly 8,000 people have been forced to evacuate.

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