Southern California wildfire prompts evacuation order for thousands as Santa Ana winds fuel flames

A wildfire fueled by gusty Santa Ana winds ripped through rural land southeast of Los Angeles on Monday, forcing about 4,000 people from their homes, fire authorities said.

The so-called Highland Fire erupted at about 12:45 p.m. in dry, brushy hills near the unincorporated Riverside County hamlet of Aguanga.

As of late Monday night, it had spread over about 2 square miles (5 square kilometers) of land, fire spokesman Jeff LaRusso said.

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