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Wildfire Devours Houses in Southern California Desert Town

Wildfire Devours Houses in Southern California Desert Town

Tuesday, 30 June, 2020 - 06:15
This Sunday, June 28, 2020 photo provided by El Centro Fire Department shows a wildfire burning through a section of Niland, Calif. AP
Asharq Al-Awsat

A wind-driven wildfire destroyed homes and forced evacuations as it tore through a rural Southern California desert town near the Salton Sea, authorities said Monday.

The fire erupted Sunday evening in Niland, a small and poor agricultural community about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from San Diego.

The American Red Cross Southern California Southern California Region said it was working to provide shelter, the Associated Press reported.

“It's very devastating in that area right now," Dale said.

Damage was still being assessed but the current estimate was 20 homes destroyed and about 130 people displaced, said Linsey Dale, a spokeswoman for Imperial County.

Niland, population about 1,000, is located at the north end of an agricultural region that stretches south to the US-Mexico border.

The fire was pushed by strong winds, forcing evacuation of the entire township.

The fire is the latest blow to California's Imperial County, which has been hit hard by the new coronavirus pandemic.

More than 500 patients have been moved to hospitals in other counties over the past five weeks to relieve strain on the county's healthcare system.

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