Wildfire forces entire California town to evacuate; suspect arrested

More than 700 firefighters are battling that blaze, which has scorched 4,700 acres and is only 5% contained, officials with the San Bernardino National Forest said.

Massive amounts of smoke were seen rising from the San Jacinto Mountains as an airplane dropped retardant on the fire, a video posted Wednesday night by Twitter user Captain Woody shows.

The fire was earlier estimated to have claimed almost 30,000 acres and was about 6 percent contained, but authorities said that acreage is expected to increase "dramatically". VIDEO: Authorities detain possible arson suspect in connection with Cranston FireMandatory evacuation orders were issued for all residents southeast of Highway 243 as well as all of Idyllwild, Apple Canyon, Hurky Creek, Bonita Vista, Lake Hemet campgrounds and Fern Valley.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Brandon N. McGlover, a 32-year-old man from Temecula, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly starting the blaze and several others in southwest Riverside County. It was burning in and around San Bernardino National Forest, prompting officials to order evacuations for Idyllwild and surrounding communities, which are home to about 12,000 people.

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The fire is one of several across California amid a statewide heat wave. He has been booked into a detention center for "five counts of arson to wildland", and it wasn't immediately clear what his motivation might be.

Hundreds of miles to the south, winds were absent over the fire in Southern California's San Jacinto Mountains. Temperatures in the Inland Empire were expected to reach the triple digits in some areas on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the state, a huge forest fire continued to grow outside Yosemite National Park.

The blaze has almost tripled in size overnight and was threatening areas west of Redding.

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