A southern California wildfire that has raged along the mountains east of Los Angeles since last Friday was sparked by a vehicular malfunction, according to fire officials.
The vehicle in question was diesel-fueled and emitted burning carbon plumes into the neighboring forest from its exhaust system. “Multiple independent witnesses, as well as supporting physical evidence” helped authorities in determining that this diesel-fueled vehicle initiated the wildfire on July 31, according to a joint news release from CAL FIRE and Riverside County Fire Department.
— CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department (@CALFIRERRU) August 3, 2020
Officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection are investigating the incident and seeking information from anyone who may have seen the vehicle with mechanical problems that initiated the blaze, according to Fire Chief Bill Weiser.
The “Apple Fire,” which has ravaged over 25,000 acres of land across Riverside and San Bernadino Counties in southern California, started on Friday, July 31 near the 9000 block of Oak Glen Road in Cherry Valley as multiple spots of fire, but grew to a blaze that stretched across over 40 square miles, according to the CAL FIRE incident page.
Evacuation orders were issued for residents living north of Banning and Beaumont in Riverside County, as well as people living in the Oak Glen community in San Bernardino County, reported CNN.
The San Gorgonio Wilderness was also closed after an Emergency Forest Closure Order was put into place on August 2, according to the CAL FIRE incident page.
Based on the latest update, there are over 2,500 fire personnel across three emergency agencies tending to the fire, which is 15% contained and has destroyed 12 residential and commercial buildings and resulted in one confirmed injury to fire personnel, according to the CAL FIRE incident page.