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CHERRY VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- The Apple Fire grew to 15,000 acres Sunday, burning at 0% containment in the Cherry Valley area of Riverside County, where it prompted mandatory evacuation orders and charred at least one home while threatening dozens more.

Officials said at least two outbuildings were also destroyed by the blaze, which began shortly before 5 p.

m. Friday near Oak Glen Road and Apple Tree Lane. No injuries have been reported.

Responding firefighters in the air and on the ground attacked the flames in an effort to protect the 2,500 homes that were threatened, performing water drops from helicopters and establishing fire lines.

RELATED: Firefighters battle 170-acre brush fire near Castaic Lake

Steep and rugged terrain made it difficult for crews on the ground to access the front lines. High temperatures and low humidity levels fueled the flames, which were scorching the brush that hadn't burned in years.

"Lots of oils in, so when it's going up these canyons, it's creating all that heat because of those oils and those fuels," said Cal Fire Capt. Richard Cordova. And what you'll see is these big plumes of smoke going up, especially the darker (ones), and once it gets into the atmosphere, it'll start creating its own weather."

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Fire crews were gearing up for another night in Riverside County where the Apple Fire has scorched at least 12,000 acres and burned one home.



An evacuation order was issued for the area north of Cherry Valley Boulevard, west of Highland Springs Avenue and east of Beaumont Avenue. An evacuation center was established at Beaumont High School, located at 39139 Cherry Valley Blvd. in Beaumont.

The evacuation orders were then expanded for homes north of Wilson Street, east of Sunset Avenue and west of Hathaway Street. The Oak Glen community in San Bernardino County was also placed under an evacuation order.

NEW EVACUATION WARNING issued for the area north of Morongo Rd, east of Millard Canyon Rd, and west of Whitewater Canyon Rd.

An interactive map, where you can search the status of your address can be found at https://t.co/2S9I5zv25f. https://t.co/ouQu1CM3IT

— CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department (@CALFIRERRU) August 2, 2020

Voluntary evacuation orders were issued for residents in the Forest Falls area, but the order was later downgraded to an evacuation warning.

Residents in those areas, like Craig Parker, were hoping the fire wouldn't spread toward their homes.

"We saw the fire crest, but the wind did die down and we were hoping it was going to stop, maybe burn itself out over night," Parker said. "It still looked good this morning but no, the wind kicked up."

Nearly 2,600 homes, totaling some 7,800 people, were effected by the evacuation orders orders, fire officials said. Fire officials said they do not have a time frame for repopulating evacuated areas.

Crews are expected to focus their efforts on the Banning Bluff area, said Captain Fernando Herrera of Cal Fire Riverside.

"The fire made a good run last night, threatened a lot of the homes," he said.

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A temporary evacuation center was established at Beaumont High School, 39139 Cherry Valley Blvd., with anyone going there subject to COVID-19 testing before being allowed in, fire department spokesman Fernando Herrera said.

The American Red Cross was assisting evacuees by putting them up in hotels.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but authorities say it likely may be a case of arson.

City News Service contributed to this report.

News Source: abc7.com

Tags: brush fire fire firefighters evacuation orders cherry valley

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WHO regional director warns that the Americas remain 'under the grip' of coronavirus

Emergency Rescue Service (SAMU) nurse Belisa Marcelino checks the lungs of Maria Geralda da Silva, 84, who is experiencing breathing difficulty and others symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as preparation is made to transfer the patient to a hospital amid the outbreak, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 2, 2020.Amanda Perobelli | Reuters

The Pan American Health Organization's top health official warned on Tuesday that the region's expanding number of coronavirus cases show the Americas remain "under the grip of Covid-19."

The Americas have been reporting more than 100,000 new cases of Covid-19 daily with the U.S. making up more than half of the case load, Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO and World Health Organization regional director for the Americas, said during a press briefing on Tuesday. 

PAHO has identified worrisome spikes in cases in countries that were once able to suppress their outbreaks, such as Colombia and Argentina, as well as an expansion in cases in Central America, she said.

Etienne pointed to the Dominican Republic as an increasingly troubling area. It's reporting more cases than all other island nations in the Caribbean, she said. 

"These numbers make it clear that our region remains under the grip of Covid-19," Etienne said. 

The U.S. surpassed 5 million cases of reported coronavirus cases on Sunday, the worst outbreak in the world with roughly a quarter of the world's 20 million cases. Brazil has the second-most number of cases, reporting more than 3 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

The U.S., Brazil and Mexico, combined, have reported more than 40% of the world's more than 737,000 reported coronavirus deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

The pandemic is also threatening the region's ability to suppress other communicable diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis, Etienne said. She said more than 80% of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are reporting challenges in delivering tuberculosis treatments. 

"If patients skip doses or interrupt their treatment, a manageable condition can quickly turn into an active infection that threatens not only the patient but also their family and close acquaintances," Etienne said. 

She called upon young people to continue adhering to suggested public health measures to prevent the virus from spreading, noting that they can still transmit the virus to people who may be more vulnerable. PAHO has reported more than 200,000 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in adolescence, 10,000 hospitalizations and more than 200 deaths as of July, she said. 

"Young people are not immune to Covid-19. They, young people, do not have special powers against Covid-19," she said. 

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