82,000 evacuated because of Southern Calif. fire

Section of interstate to Las Vegas closed

Photo does not have a caption

Officials said more than 82,000 people have been told to evacuate mountain communities because of a Southern California wildfire, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The evacuation orders were given to the people in about 34,500 homes, San Bernardino County fire spokesman Eric Sherwin said.

Some structures have already burned, he told the AP.

The 14-square-mile fire near Cajon Pass has seen massive growth in the eight hours since it broke out on Tuesday morning.

As many as 4,500 from the mountain resort town of Wrightwood were also evacuated. A section of Interstate 15, the main route between Southern California and Las Vegas, was shut down by the blaze, the AP said.

Evacuation orders for the Northern California town of Clearlake were lifted, however. About 4,000 people were able to return to their homes days after they were forced to flee.

That blaze destroyed 175 homes, businesses and other buildings in the nearby town of Lower Lake.

The man suspected of sparking that Northern California fire once worked as an inmate firefighter, corrections officials told the AP.

Damin Anthony Pashilk, 40, of Clearlake, was arrested Monday on suspicion of starting the fire, officials said.