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Etiwanda wildfire fueled by Santa Ana winds quickly grows in California

Hot and dry Santa Ana Winds will gust up to 50 mph into Thursday, causing power outages and continued extreme fire danger across the region.
Hot and dry Santa Ana Winds will gust up to 50 mph into Thursday, causing power outages and continued extreme fire danger across the region.
Photo courtesy of AccuWeather.com, used with permission

A large and smoky wildfire in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains near Rancho Cucamonga, California has quickly spread as a result of strong downsloping Santa Ana winds, forcing the evacuation of over 1,000 homes and seven school closures. Over 800 acres have already burned at the time of this report.

Firefighters continued to worry that strong winds could further spread the fire and have been having a difficult time containing the flames. Wind gusts up to 80 mph were forecast by local meteorologists in the area.

The strong winds are also preventing aircraft from joining the firefight, according to KABC-TV.

"Gusts of 60 mph prevented firefighting helicopters from taking to the air," CalFire spokeswoman Liz Brown said. "They are not able to get off the ground so we are fighting this with ground resources right now," she said.

There was no estimate as to when firefighters expected to have the fire contained or how many additional acres may burn. Red flag warnings of high fire danger were posted by the National Weather Service for parts of Southern California through 8 p.m. Thursday. There is no immediate relief in sight with no needed rain in the forecast.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30 Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30

Flames from the wind driven Etiwanda fire burn through a fence on April 30. 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Flames from the fire which started in the San Bernardino National Forest spread quickly down the mountain into Ranch Cucamonga.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30 Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30

A Sheriff Deputy stands at his patrol car as the wind driven Etiwanda fire burns on April 30. 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Flames from the fire which started in the San Bernardino National Forest spread quickly down the mountain into Ranch Cucamonga.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30 Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30

A man uses a garden hose to wet down his property as firefighters monitor the approaching wind driven Etiwanda fire April 30. 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Flames from the fire which started in the San Bernardino National Forest spread quickly down the mountain into Ranch Cucamonga.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30 Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30

People cover their faces from smoke blowing from the wind driven Etiwanda fire burning near a residential area on April 30. 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Flames from the fire which started in the San Bernardino National Forest spread quickly down the mountain into Ranch Cucamonga.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30 Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30

Firefighters battle the wind driven Etiwanda fire burning very close to homes on April 30. 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Flames from the fire which started in the San Bernardino National Forest spread quickly down the mountain into Ranch Cucamonga.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30 Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30

A man watches the approaching wind driven Etiwanda fire burning towards his home on April 30. 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Flames from the fire which started in the San Bernardino National Forest spread quickly down the mountain into Ranch Cucamonga.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30 Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30

A man watches the approaching wind driven Etiwanda fire burning towards his home on April 30. 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Flames from the fire which started in the San Bernardino National Forest spread quickly down the mountain into Ranch Cucamonga.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30 Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30

Froylan Dominguez uses a garden hose to wet down brush in front of his home as the wind driven Etiwanda fire approaches his home on April 30. 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Flames from the fire which started in the San Bernardino National Forest spread quickly down the mountain into Ranch Cucamonga.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30 Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - APRIL 30

Firefiighters monitor the wind driven Etiwanda fire burning near power lines on April 30. 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Flames from the fire which started in the San Bernardino National Forest spread quickly down the mountain into Ranch Cucamonga.