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Residents forced to evacuate as 'Apple Fire' burns out of control in California

Firefighters watch as flames flare at the Apple Fire in Cherry Valley, California - AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Firefighters watch as flames flare at the Apple Fire in Cherry Valley, California – AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Nearly 8,000 residents of Riverside County in Southern California were forced to evacuate their homes on Saturday as a wildfire spread uncontained across more than 4,000 acres, the County fire department said.

The fire – dubbed the Apple Fire by local firefighters, who routinely give blazes identifying names – was reported on Friday in Cherry Valley, a community about 75 miles east of Los Angeles.

It had destroyed at least one family home as of Saturday evening (Sunday morning UK time).

Photographs shared by the Riverside County fire department on Twitter on Saturday showed thick plumes of smoke filling the sky over the mountainous region.

Residents of 2,586 homes, totalling around 7,800 people, were told to evacuate, the department said.

CAL FIRE/ Riverside County Fire Department is activly fighting the #AppleFire. Please use caution in the area as fire resources continue to work in the area. pic.twitter.com/ruK0Z2RJDJ

— CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department (@CALFIRERRU) August 1, 2020

The fire had grown from 700 acres on Friday evening to 4,125 acres by Saturday evening and was not contained, according to the County fire department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

A firefighting plane makes a low-flying retardant drop on a ridge as firefighters continue to battle the Apple Fire - JOSH EDELSON/AFP

A firefighting plane makes a low-flying retardant drop on a ridge as firefighters continue to battle the Apple Fire – JOSH EDELSON/AFP

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