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Thursday
Jul182013

Thousands Told to Evacuate as California Wildfire Rages On

Hemera/Thinkstock(RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.) -- Roughly 2,200 homes southwest of Palm Springs, Calif. are under evacuation orders Wednesday night as the latest major wildfire advances in the area.

Nearly 3,000 firefighters are working to contain the mountain fire in Riverside County California, where thousands of residents have been forced to leave as the blaze continues to threaten more than 4,100 residences and 100 commercial properties.

"They're just trying to, you know, move people out in an orderly fashion before it becomes a last-minute event," said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Lee Beyer.

Beyer said Wednesday there has been damage from the wildfire that broke out on Monday.

"We have about seven homes damaged. One [is] destroyed, and then about 10 or 11 out buildings, and about five or six vehicles," he said.

So far, firefighters say this blaze has been very unpredictable because it's not being fueled by wind, which would normally push the flames in a certain direction. The fire raging near the communities of Idyllwild and Fern Vally, Calif., is being fueled by super dry conditions, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees and steep topography.

Residents of Idyllwild and Fern Valley are being allowed home Wednesday night only to pick up essential items before evacuating.

The western wildfire season is a full two months longer than it was 30 years ago. In California alone, there have already been 1,000 more fires this year than last year at the same time.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio