published Friday, August 9th, 2013

California wildfire destroys 26 homes

A helicopter drops water over a wildfire on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, in Cabazon, Calif. About 1,500 people have fled and three are injured as a wildfire in the Southern California mountains quickly spreads. Several small communities have evacuated.
A helicopter drops water over a wildfire on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, in Cabazon, Calif. About 1,500 people have fled and three are injured as a wildfire in the Southern California mountains quickly spreads. Several small communities have evacuated.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BEAUMONT, Calif. — Officials say a wildfire has destroyed more than two dozen homes in a Southern California mountain range.

State fire officials said Thursday night that the blaze near Banning destroyed 26 homes and one commercial building, and damaged two other structures.

Authorities had earlier said at least 10 homes were destroyed, but the new figures don't necessarily represent new destruction. They came after an assessment of areas charred earlier by the fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon and grew with incredible speed.

More than 1,400 firefighters were taking on the blaze that had grown to nearly 22 square miles and forced some 1,800 residents and campers to flee the San Jacinto Mountains, a desert range 90 miles east of Los Angeles.

Five firefighters and one civilian have been injured.

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