"Wildfire Threatens Homes in Drought-Parched Southern California"

"A wind-driven brush fire burning out of control in a drought-parched Southern California wildland on Wednesday threatened a wealthy community in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents, officials said.

The fast-moving blaze, which sent smoke billowing down the foothills toward large suburban houses, comes amid a dangerous combination of unseasonably hot weather and fierce Santa Ana winds that put much of Southern California's brushy hillsides at risk of fire.

By Wednesday afternoon, the blaze had scorched 1,000 acres on the edge of Rancho Cucamonga, a suburban community 42 miles (68 km) east of Los Angeles, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

More than 650 firefighters battled the blaze, dubbed the Etiwanda Fire, which was burning in conditions that the state doesn't usually see until the end of a long, dry summer, he added."

Alex Dobuzinskis reports for Reuters May 1, 2014.

Thursday, May 1, 2014