One person was killed and dozens of homes destroyed after a fast-moving wildfire tore through a Southern California desert town near the Salton Sea, officials said Monday.
The blaze began Sunday night in Niland, a small, poor agricultural community about 100 miles from San Diego.
The Imperial County Public Health Department said on Twitter that about 40 homes were estimated to have been lost, but the fire has since been contained.
UTAH WILDFIRE FORCES 13,000 TO EVACUATE AS STATE FACES CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER
The Calipatria Fire Department told KESQ-TV that one body was found among fire damage in the town and authorities are investigating.
The fire, spread by strong winds, forced the evacuation of the entire township.
Niland, with a population of about 1,000, is at the north end of an agricultural region that stretches south to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Imperial County spokeswoman Linsey Dale told the Associated Press that about 130 people were dispatched to the blaze.
“It’s very devastating in that area right now,” Dale said.
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Every local fire truck and firefighting team responded and firefighting help also came from elsewhere.
The American Red Cross Southern California Region said it was working to provide shelter.
A temporary shelter was set up at Calipatria High School where assistance to displaced residents was being offered.
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The fire is the latest blow to California’s Imperial County, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 500 patients were moved to hospitals in other counties over the past five weeks to relieve strain on the county’s health care system.
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As of Tuesday morning, there are 223,646 coronavirus cases in California with at least 5,983 deaths.
Critical fire weather danger continues across the West through Tuesday.
Hot temperatures, low humidity, dry lightning and gusty winds will bring an elevated risk of critical fire weather across the Southern Rockies, High Plains and Southwest.
Fox News’ Adam Klotz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.