Thousands of residents in Southern California were forced from their homes by a raging wildfire which remained unchecked early on Thursday as it pushed toward their mountain resort communities.
The so-called Cranston Fire, believed to have been started by arson, grew rapidly by noon to cover 4,700 acres (1,900 hectares) around 90 miles (145 km) east of Los Angeles in the San Jacinto Mountains, the San Bernardino National Forest agency said on Twitter.
The blaze forced 3,200 people to evacuate in communities such as Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Lake Hemet as it destroyed five structures and threatened 2,100 homes, the agency said.
Brandon McGlover, 32, of Temecula, was arrested on Wednesday and accused of starting multiple fires including the Cranston Fire, fire officials said in a statement.
The fire along with dozens of others through the US West were being supercharged by extreme temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 C), erratic…