The tally of California’s harsh fire season ascended to even grimmer terrain Friday as officials announced that the Blue Cut fire in the Cajon Pass has destroyed nearly 100 homes and more than 200 other structures.
The toll in San Bernardino County caps a week of extensive losses across California, including 300 structures destroyed in Lake County when a wildfire raced through the town of Lower Lake, hammering its downtown area.
In both cases, officials said, the fires ravaged through rural communities on the edges of vast open spaces so quickly that there was little firefighters could do to stop them. They blamed California’s five-year drought, which has left brush bone-dry, as well as hot, windy weather conditions.
“They are just moving as fast as the wind can push them and that’s leading to what we’re seeing in terms of devastation,” said Char Miller, a Pomona College professor who’s an expert in wildfires. “Let’s call it an imperfect storm of conditions: the drought, the heat, the low humidity. And let’s be honest, this is not really big winds.”
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