What began as a small brush fire along a freeway in drought-stricken Southern California morphed into a massive blaze fueled by gusty winds and dry vegetation. Swift-moving flames gutted a historic Route 66 diner, burned homes to their foundations and forced tens of thousands of people to flee the Cajon Pass, a mountain pass between the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains.
A snapshot of the fire and its impacts:
Wildfires have ripped through California in the past, but recent fires have grown stronger and hotter. A persistent statewide drought has killed scores of trees and dried out swaths of land, creating incendiary...