Growing fires in Southern California are threatening homes as flames come dangerously close to destroying neighborhoods.
Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties as the fire snaked its way along ridges in the Cleveland National Forest, which is south of Los Angeles.
Fire crews permitted some parts of the fire to burn as they kept a close eye on it, according to Fox News. The purpose was to let the fire reduce the fuel load, which would make it harder for the flames to jump roads into threatened communities.
To help keep the neighborhoods safe, aircraft dumped loads of fire retardant on flames and homes. Meanwhile, people below ignored evacuation orders, spraying their homes down with water from garden hoses.
The winds at times have flared up, propelling the flames with 20-mph gusts. Thursday evening the flames got so out of control that they looked like part of a weather front.
"It looked like a tornado,” said Shannon Hicks, 59, resident. “The flames were just twirling and twirling."
Hicks was one of the people who defied orders to evacuate. "I thought, 'There's no way they're saving my house.' But somehow they did."
Another resident wasn’t as lucky as Hicks. Dan Pritchett said he and his brother chose to stay until a wall of flames roared nearby.
"I turned to him and said, 'Let's go,'" Pritchett said. "(There were) 100-foot flames right on the crest of the hill, right in front of me."
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