(AP) A wildfire with a ferocity never seen before by veteran California firefighters raced up and down canyon hillsides, instantly engulfing homes and forcing thousands of people to flee, some running for their lives just ahead of the flames.
By Wednesday, a day after it ignited in brush left tinder-dry by years of drought, the blaze had spread across nearly 47 square miles and was raging completely out of control.

The flames advanced despite the efforts of 1,300 firefighters. Authorities could not immediately say how many homes had been destroyed, but they warned that the number will be large. “There will be a lot of families that come home to nothing,” San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said after flying over a fire scene he described as “devastating.” “It hit hard. It hit fast. It hit with an intensity that we hadn’t seen before,” he said. CONTINUE