Southern California wildfire forces nearly 8,000 people to flee their homes

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Nearly 8,000 residents of Riverside County in southern California were forced to leave their homes on Saturday as a wildfire spread unconfined over 1,600 acres, county firefighters said.The blaze, dubbed Apple Fire by local firefighters – who regularly give identifying names to the flames – was reported on Friday in Cherry Valley, a community about 120 miles east of Los Angeles and had destroyed at least a family home on Saturday night.

Photos shared by Riverside County firefighters on Twitter on Saturday showed thick plumes of smoke filling the skies above the mountainous region.

Residents of 2,586 homes, totaling about 7,800 people, have been asked to leave their homes, the department said.

The blaze had grown from about 280 acres by Friday night to nearly 1,670 acres by Saturday night and was zero percent contained, according to county firefighters and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) .

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