Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wind-fueled wildfire erupts in Banning area east of Los Angeles; more flames in wine country

A Southern California wildfire fueled by strong winds was raging through 4½ square miles of Riverside County on Wednesday in the biggest of a series of statewide fires that broke out amid dry, gusty conditions.

The fast-moving wildfire about 90 miles east of Los Angeles broke out just after noon and was moving westward through largely undeveloped foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, but it was dangerously close to subdivisions to the south, in Banning.

At least 425 firefighters were working to gain control of the fast-moving fire, which has destroyed one home and is 35 percent contained, said Jody Hagemann, spokeswoman for the county fire department. Six helicopters and six air tankers were making water drops.