California Burning: Wildfires run rampant across state

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California is burning. Firefighters are battling several wildfires across the state that is prompting hundreds of people to evacuate.

The Cranston Fire is exploding in the mountains east of Los Angeles, growing to 4,700 acres in just a few hours near the town of Idyllwild -- 500 firefighters are battling giant flames, strong winds, and scorching temperatures.

At least one home was destroyed. The entire community has been evacuated.

MAPS: Wildfires burning across California

"We got told to get ready to evacuate," said one woman. "Half an hour later -- go, you have no choice."

The fire is visible in Palm Springs, 50 miles away. Denise Petty is worried about her mountain cabin,"I'm really scared for the town," she said. "especially if they can't contain it. The town would be lost."

RELATED: Brush fire spreads to 4,700 acres as arson suspect arrested

A 32-year-old man was arrested on charges he set the Cranston Fire and several others in Riverside County.

Near Yosemite, the Ferguson Fire continues to grow, now at 41, 576 acres and 26 percent contained. As the fire inches closer, visitors to the park forced to leave. Thick smoke is everywhere.

"They closed the Half Dome yesterday," said park visitor Vivek Vishal. "Everyone was to leave the park by 12."

RELATED: Raging Ferguson Fire closes Yosemite Valley

A fast-moving grass fire forced the closure of Highway 99 south of Sacramento Wednesday as well. The fire jumped the highway and continued to burn in a wrecking yard.

ABC7 News asked fire weather expert Craig Clements from San Jose State University why it seems that so much of California is burning.

"Because of our low rainfall year we had last winter," he answered. "That actually causes fire season to move up a month. While we're in July, it feels more like August, September."

Get the latest on the Carr Fire here and the latest on wildfires across California here.
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