LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (AP) – An intentionally-set Southern California forest fire that raged perilously close to homes has continued to grow with very little containment.
Firefighters on Friday are protecting foothill neighborhoods in the city of Lake Elsinore near where the blaze flared up amid unpredictable winds a day earlier.
The five-day-old fire has now charred 28 square miles (72 square kilometers) of trees and brush in the Cleveland National Forest south of Los Angeles. It’s only 5 percent contained.
At least 20,000 residents are evacuated.
Crews working in sweltering conditions and steep terrain hope to make progress before winds whip up again later in the day.
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties.
A suspect charged with intentionally setting the fire is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.