Tenaja fire rages through southern California: "They don't know which way it's going to go"

Tenaja fire rages through southern California

Flames from the Tenaja fire are burning dangerously close to homes in California. After tearing through 2,000 acres, the fire is only about 10% contained.

Hundreds of homes were threatened when heavy winds kicked up the blaze on Thursday afternoon. "All of a sudden, it just started taking off!" one witness said.  

Some 800 firefighters, facing 90 degree temperatures, attacked the fire with bulldozers on the ground and water-dropping helicopters from the air.

"We did have a full strike team of resources deployed," said Fernando Herrera of the Riverside County Fire Department, who added that firefighters also went to homeowners' backyards to help protect their homes.

Some people also hosed down their own homes in an effort to keep them safe.  Crews tossed pillows and cushions into the pool in an attempt to clear out material that might quickly catch fire.

Meanwhile, police officers and firefighters patrolled neighborhoods, warning families that it was time to go. 

"They don't know which way it's going to go," one resident said. "So they just recommend that we get out of here as quick as possible." 

So far, two homes have been damaged. Officials said it's still a dangerous situation.

"This is a rapidly evolving incident," said Murrieta Police Chief Sean Hadden. "So we are asking people to stay out of the area."

Some hillsides in the region haven't burned in more than 20 years, which is creating a significant amount of fuel. Officials aren't saying when they'll let people return to their homes, and schools in the area will remain closed because of the poor air quality.

Tenaja isn't the only fire the state is facing: In northern California, the Red Bank fire exploded to 6,000 acres overnight.