Fierce Californian wildfire forces 4,000 people from their homes

No injuries were reported, officials said. Credit: AP

A wildfire fuelled by fierce Californian winds ripped through the US' west coast on Monday, forcing about 4,000 people living southeast of LA from their homes.

The so-called Highland Fire erupted at about midday local time in dry, brushy hills near Aguanga.

As of late Monday night, it had spread over about two square miles of land, fire spokesman Jeff LaRusso said.

The fire spread on Monday. Credit: AP

About 1,300 homes and 4,000 residents were under evacuation orders, he said.

The fire has destroyed three buildings and damaged six others but it wasn't clear whether any were homes.

The region is sparsely populated but there are horse ranches and a large mobile home site, Mr LaRusso said.

No injuries were reported.

Firefighters attend to the blaze. Credit: AP

Winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour (32 to 40 kph) with some higher gusts drove the flames and embers through grass and brush that were dried out by recent winds and low humidity so that it was "almost like kindling" for the blaze, Mr LaRusso added.

He said the winds were expected to ease somewhat overnight and fire crews would attempt to box in the blaze.

But, he added: “Wind trumps everything. Hopefully the forecast holds.”

A large air tanker, bulldozers and other resources were called in to fight the fire, one of the few large and active blazes to have erupted so far in California's year-round fire season, Mr LaRusso said.

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