The Esperanza fire is burning just a few miles from where we live, I'd say about 25 at the most in Cabazon. If you ever saw PeeWee's Big Adventure, the scene where he is sitting inside the dinosaur head looking out the mouth - that's in Cabazon.
The sky is thick with smoke. In broad daylight, you cannot see the mountains that are just 1 1/2 miles from our house. They evacuated our local hospital due to the smoke coming in through the air handling systems. I work about 50 miles from the fire and it was almost as thick there.
It has burned 10,000 acres at this point and they are estimating 25,000 will be burned by the time they can get control of it. 4 firemen are dead with one in critical condition. There was an RV park in the area with 400 people trapped. Some drove through the flames to get out. They survived, singed but alive.
It was moving toward Idyllwild (San Bernardino Forest) which was plagued with wood beetles that killed a lot of the trees. They are afraid that if it makes it that far, it will just take off even more.
They are reporting that the fire was intentionally started and are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the arsonist(s). I'd call them murderers.
There are mountains there in the background. This picture was taken at 5:30pm in broad daylight from my front yard.
Photo taken yesterday in Banning, CA at 10am. Banning is about 15 miles from us.
The fire has now consumed 24,000 acres and is only 5% contained.
With the fire now 60% contained, the skies are clearing up and give you the feeling that life is returning to normal. For some anyway. The 5th fireman is still clinging to life. He had surgery where they removed 70% of the burned skin that covers over 90% of his body. 34 homes have been destroyed. 40,450 acres have been burned ~ way more than the original 25,000 estimate. The winds have subsided a bit and by this afternoon, there should be some humidity added to the atmosphere as an ocean breeze makes it's way in. They are estimating to have full containment by 6pm Tuesday.
There are those mountains!
Over 40 county investigators are working in conjunction with the FBI and the department of Firearms, Alcohol & Tobacco to hunt down the arsonist(s). I pity the fools when they find them. There is almost a lynch-mob mentality going on here and folks are just itchin' to find them.