AP News, Firefighting, News

Southern California Wildfire Prompts Evacuation of 200 Homes

BEAUMONT, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire erupted Friday evening northwest of Palm Springs and prompted the evacuation of at least 200 nearby homes, authorities said.

The blaze, which began as two adjacent fires, was reported shortly before 5 p.m. in Cherry Valley, an unincorporated area near the city of Beaumont in Riverside County. Flames leapt along brushy ridgetops and came close to homes while some 200 firefighters fought the blaze from the ground and air, authorities said.

By nightfall, no homes had been damaged and no injuries had been reported but hundreds of people fell under mandatory evacuation orders.

The 1,720-acre (696-hectare) merged blaze, dubbed the Apple Fire, was one of several being fought as Southern California found itself in the midst of a heat wave.

Several inland and valley areas set daily heat records for the date, including Thermal and Idyllwild, both in the Palm Springs area. Thermal, in the Coachella Valley, had a high of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius), breaking a 1996 record by one degree.

Palm Springs, at 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius), tied a 1957 record.

The National Weather Service said “dangerously hot conditions” with low humidity were expected to continue into Saturday because of high pressure over the region.