TEHACHAPI, Calif. A small plane crash sparked a wildfire north of Los Angeles Sunday afternoon. Two people on board died.
The single-engine Cessna 210 went down near Tehachapi south of Bakersfield, according to Kern County fire department spokesman Cary Wright. It exploded in flames.
Residents of at least 100 homes were forced to evacuate as the fast-moving brush fire that burned early Monday near a California mountain community.
The fire has charred more than 3,500 acres. One house burned to the ground.
No injuries from the fire were reported.
The blaze grew to 3,500 acres nearly 5 ½ square miles amid dry, hot and windy conditions. About 600 firefighters, backed by 11 air tankers, were battle the blaze. Fire official Sean Collins said early Monday that it was at zero containment.
Crews were attacking the flames from above, running water-dropping aircraft continuously. Most of the ground crews were devoted to structure protection.
"The terrain is steep, rugged. The wind is swirling. All the dry brush is a huge fuel source," Wright said.
Wright said earlier in the evening that the fire in Blackburn Canyon was "growing by the minute," adding that it shifted direction three times.
Officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for 100 homes under threat in Blackburn Canyon and the Mountain Meadows area.
Collins said that the blaze was still at about 3,500 acres, but he said there could be more evacuations later in the day.
The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at Jacobsen Junior High School in Tehachapi.
To the south, a wildfire along the main interstate between Southern California and Las Vegas that grew to 1,100 acres was 80 percent contained late Sunday.
The fire erupted in the center divider of Interstate 15 Friday at the start of the holiday weekend, forcing the closure of all lanes and snarling the getaway traffic. Nearly all lanes were reopened by Friday evening.
Fueled by steady winds and 90 degree temperatures the blaze jumped the freeway and burned chaparral in the hills that form the nearby San Bernardino National Forest and rural areas of San Bernardino County.
About 1,500 homes were evacuated Friday but all residents had been allowed to return home by the next day.
However, the flames destroyed two mobile homes and damaged two other structures.
Air quality officials predicted that smoke from the fire would cause problems for people with health sensitivities in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountain areas. The South Coast Air Quality Management District urged them to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities.