Blue Cut Fire in Southern California nearly contained; evacuations lifted

VICTORVILLE, Calif., Aug. 22 (UPI) — Evacuation orders were lifted in San Bernardino County and utility companies were working to restore service to residents as Southern California’s Blue Cut Fire neared containment, fire authorities said Sunday.

The explosive wildfire burned 37,020 acres and firefighters have the blaze 85 percent contained, authorities said as all 82,000 displaced residences were allowed to go home. Many will not have a home to return to.

Cal Fire said a preliminary estimate indicated at least 105 homes were destroyed and three damaged. Another 216 outbuildings were destroyed and six damaged.

The cause of the fire, which began east of Los Angeles on Tuesday and quickly grew into a major blaze, is still not known.

Evacuation orders were still in effect for the so-called Chimney fire in Northern California, which has scorched more than 27,000 acres and destroyed 47 structures. It remains 35 percent contained.

One of the buildings threatened by the fire is the landmark Hearst Castle, built by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and the model for Xanadu in Orson Welles‘ classic film Citizen Kane. It was closed Sunday after the fire reached an area near the mansion’s water supply. The historic site will remain closed Monday with staff prepared to evacuate the mansion’s priceless works of art if the fire moves closer.

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