California’s Silver Fire is slowly coming under containment, even as the wind-driven blaze roared through dry brush east of Los Angeles for a fourth day on Saturday.
The wildfire erupted on Wednesday and charred more than 19,000 acres on the rugged northern and eastern slopes of Jan Jacinto Mountain by Saturday evening.
The California fire is just the latest in a series of deadly, destructive blazes during the 2013 wildfire season, reports NBC News. The blaze injured six firefighters and one civilian. It has also destroyed around four dozen structures.
The fire has drawn in more than 2,000 personnel, including 68 fire crews. The wildfire has prompted California Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in Riverside County. That way, victims of the fire can be eligible for federal disaster assistance when they are allowed to return.
Despite the Silver Fire’s quick pace, Reuters notes that California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlandt assured that crews are “making very good progress.” Crews on the ground were backed up by several water-dropping helicopters and a team of bulldozers carving out fire breaks to halt its progress.
Mandatory evacuations were in effect for more than 500 homes, while several campgrounds in the area were also closed. Shelters were set up for evacuees at high schools in the nearby towns of Hemet and Beaumont.
Despite the high property loss, firefighters have still successfully saves far more homes than they lost. Berlandt explained that “hundreds of homes” were still standing “because of the aggressive efforts of those firefighters.”
California’s Silver Fire is burning on the other side of the mountain from an earlier fire, which threatened the town of Idylwild last month. That fire destroyed several homes and residents, along with forcing about 6,000 residents to flee.
The cause of the Silver Fire is still under investigation, according to officials.
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