More than 7,000 residents have been evacuated in Riverside County, California, as the Apple fire, which was sparked by dry winds and arid vegetation, is raging through over 20,000 acres in Cherry Valley. The fire, which erupted on Friday, was named after one of the roads close to the source of ignition. As of this morning, the blaze is only 5% contained. Firefighters are facing the challenge of steep terrain and rocky hillsides on most of the northeastern and eastern edges, making it impossible to reach with firefighting vehicles. There are currently 20 hand-equipped personnel, 178 fire engines, 19 water tankers, and 6 helicopters on the scene. The blaze is so fierce, it’s created its own wind velocity. So far, one home and two buildings have been destroyed. Fire officials fear the blaze will increase due to onshore winds combined with scorching temperatures and extremely low humidity. Evacuation centers are following COVID-19 guidance with temperature checks on arrival as well as mask and social distancing requirements.
Ann Sullivan is a contributing staff writer covering national and world news topics. She brings dedicated experience having written international and domestic news, blogs, and web content for over 20 years. She’s also a published poet and graphic designer with degrees in Business and Graphic Communications and has been a music distributor, music industry sponsorship sales director and band manager.