A brush fire in Banning that was being stoked by fierce winds had grown to 1,500 acres Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of firefighters struggled to gain headway against the blaze.
The Summit fire forced authorities to evacuate about 500 residents as flames burned near homes, the Riverside County Fire Department said. At least one structure was damaged by the flames.
Television footage showed huge walls of flame being pushed across parched mountainsides as dry easterly winds up to 29 mph blew across the area. Relative humidity was 12% as flames consumed light- to medium brush and chaparral, fire officials said. The blaze was 0% contained.
More than 400 firefighters from several jurisdictions were battling the fire. They were being aided by six helicopters and six aerial tankers that were making repeated water and fire-retardant drops on the flames.