California wildfire engulfs motorway leaving passengers fleeing burning cars

Footage of cars erupting into flames and drivers fleeing their vehicles shows wildfire disaster on Intersection 15 along the Cajon Pass

Alice Harrold
Saturday 18 July 2015 10:42
Northern California wildfire on 5 July, 2015 may have been started by fireworks
Northern California wildfire on 5 July, 2015 may have been started by fireworks

A wildfire has torn through a Californian motorway causing travellers to flee their cars, burning several vehicles and destroying four buildings.

Firefighters continue to battle the fast-moving bushfire which is sweeping across the Southern California mountain pass.

The fire broke out during rush hour on Interstate 15, along the Cajon Pass on the motorway connecting Los Angeles with Las Vegas.

At least 20 vehicles have been destroyed in the flames and over 50 more were abandoned as travellers ran from the fire. There have been no confirmed reports of injuries.

Neighbouring mountain towns have been evacuated as the fire service attempts to save local homes.

Uriah Hernandez, a spokesman for the US forest service, said the bushfire burned at least 50 acres of land on both sides of the motorway and was moving fast.

"It's crazy, you're watching black clouds and white clouds of smoke, there's a ridgeline off to my right... it looks like any second flames will come over the ridgeline," said Chris Patterson, a driver present at the scene.

The fire was caused by severe dry conditions as California continues to suffer months of drought. There have been more than 3,381 wildfires in the state this year – 1,000 more than the average over the previous five years.

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