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PHOTOS: Over 80,000 forced to evacuate as Blue Cut fire rages east of Los Angeles

By By Brian Lada, AccuWeather Meteorologist
August 20, 2016, 3:41:23 AM EDT

The Blue Cut fire erupted in Southern California on Tuesday, burning thousands of acres and forcing evacuations for entire communities.

The Blue Cut Fire started burning late on Tuesday morning east of Los Angeles in the Cajon Pass. The blaze spread rapidly in dry, hot and breezy conditions.

The fire has burned at least 37,000 acres and is 26 percent contained, according to InciWeb. The cause of the blaze is still unknown. Nearly 100 homes and 213 other buildings have also been destroyed.

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The fire poses an "imminent threat to public safety, rail traffic and structures" in the region, InciWeb warned on Wednesday.

More than 82,000 people were placed under mandatory evacuation orders due to the effects of the fire, including the entire town of Wrightwood, California.

Those forced to evacuate found it difficult to leave town as portions of Interstate 15 and Highway 138 was shut down, according to the Los Angeles Times.


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On Tuesday evening, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for San Bernardino County.

Six firefighters were entrapped by the raging wildfire on Tuesday afternoon while defending homes and assisting with evacuations. Two of the firefighters sustained minor injuries and were transported to a local hospital.

NBC 4 Los Angeles reported that some homes around the fire have been burned as the blaze spread through communities.

Interstate 15 reopened on Thursday morning through the Cajon pass, according to Inciweb. Those traveling through the pass should use caution as workers continue to work along the road.

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The weather over the next several days will make it challenging for fire crews to gain ground containing the blaze.


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"Very dry, very warm air will remain in place through at least Thursday with relative humidity dropping to less than 20 percent in many areas threatened by the Blue Cut Fire," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk said.

Houk added that wind gusts will range from 25 to 35 mph that can fan the flames and create a dangerous situation for those battling the blaze.

Smoke from the fire was visible across the entire area and was also able detected on weather radar.


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