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Fire in Southern California continues to burn out of control

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The mountain wildfire in Southern California continues to burn out of control. It has now scorched more than 28 square miles and is inching closer to Palm Springs.

The erratic fire in Idyllwild, Calif. has scored 35 square miles. Photo: Associated Press

Thousands of families were ordered to flee their homes in Idyllwild, and are now forced to just sit and hope for the best.

"it came up on us so fast," said Debbie Overman.

And those fast-moving flames have already destroyed several homes.

Bob Parker, an Idyllwild Resident, said: "There's nothing that they could do. The fire was going 15 miles an hour and it just came right on top of them."

Like much of the nation, the 3,300 firefighters are battling extreme heat – but conditions there are even more unpredictable.

Tina Rose, CalFire Public Information Officer, said that "fire sometimes creates its own fire weather. Today our major concern is getting lightning from our own fire smoke."

Lightning that could spark more fires gained even more ground, requiring a massive effort to ensure hot spots don’t flare up again. This is why fire crews are also conducting overnight aerial assaults for the first time in Southern California in 30 years.

"My heart is just so overwhelmed with joy that they are here helping us," said Idyllwild resident Mona Taggert.

Fire investigators say the mountain wildfire was caused by humans, but it isn’t yet clear whether it was accidental or intentional.

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