California wildfire destroys dozens of homes in deserted city, leaves 1 dead

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One person died and dozens of houses were destroyed after a fast-moving forest fire swept through a desert city in southern California near the Salton Sea, authorities said Monday.

The fire started Sunday night in Niland, a small poor farming community about 100 miles from San Diego.

The Imperial County Department of Public Health said On Twitter it is estimated that around 40 houses were lost, but the fire has since been contained.

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The Calipatria Fire Department told KESQ-TV that a body was found among the fire damage in the city and authorities are investigating.

A wildfire caused by the wind has destroyed some 40 houses and forced evacuations, since it devastated the rural city of Niland, in the desert of Southern California, near the Salton Sea.

A wildfire caused by the wind has destroyed some 40 houses and forced evacuations, since it devastated the rural city of Niland, in the desert of Southern California, near the Salton Sea.
(Battalion Chief Joseph Bernal / Central Fire Department via AP)

The fire, spread by strong winds, forced the evacuation of the entire municipality.

Niland, with a population of approximately 1,000 inhabitants, is located in the extreme north of an agricultural region that stretches south to the border between the United States and Mexico.

This June 28 photo provided by the El Centro Fire Department shows a forest fire burning in a section of Niland, California.

This June 28 photo provided by the El Centro Fire Department shows a forest fire burning in a section of Niland, California.
(Battalion Chief Joseph Bernal / Central Fire Department via AP)

Imperial County spokeswoman Linsey Dale told the Associated Press that about 130 people were sent to the fire.

"It is very devastating in that area right now," said Dale.

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All local fire and fire teams responded, and help from firefighters also came from elsewhere.

This June 28 photo provided by the El Centro Fire Department shows a forest fire burning in a section of Niland, California.

This June 28 photo provided by the El Centro Fire Department shows a forest fire burning in a section of Niland, California.
(Battalion Chief Joseph Bernal / Central Fire Department via AP)

The American Red Cross of the Southern California Region said it was working to provide shelter.

A temporary shelter was installed at Calipatria High School where assistance was provided to displaced residents.

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

More than 500 patients have been rushed to hospitals in other counties in the past five weeks to ease tension in the county's health care system.

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As of Tuesday morning, there are 223,646 cases of coronavirus in California with at least 5,983 deaths.

The critical fire hazard continues across the west through Tuesday.

The fire hazard continues across the west and southwest on Tuesday.

The fire hazard continues across the west and southwest on Tuesday.

High temperatures, low humidity, dry lightning, and gusty winds will bring a high risk of critical fires in the Southern Rockies, the High Plains, and the Southwest.

Adam Klotz and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.



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