Weary firefighters Thursday battled a raging inferno that was threatening the homes of more than 82,000 people in southern California and sent flaming “firenadoes” tearing across the brush. Nearly 1,600 firefighters were fighting the giant blaze, but had only contained four percent of it, according to a fire service official.

Dramatic local TV news footage captured from the front line of the wildfire in the town of Phelan showed tornado-like flaming vortexes — known as “firenadoes” — sent spinning into the air by the ferocity of the blaze. “We have very, very dry brush — thick fuel — it helps move it (the fire) along very quickly,” Lynne Tolmachoff, spokeswoman for the state firefighting agency Cal Fire, told AFP. “It is very dangerous to the public and also to the firefighters.” CONTINUE