As many as 82,000 people have been told to evacuate from the mountain communities in Southern California as a massive wildfire continues "raging unchecked," according to state officials.
Fire officials said that the Bluecut Fire, which flared up on Tuesday morning, is now covering close to 18,000 acres of land at the Cajon Pass, with none of the fire contained as of Tuesday night, Reuters noted.
Evacuation orders were issued to 82,640 residents and some 34,500 homes near Interstate 15, the main freeway between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area, with the cause of the blaze still under investigation.
Fox News reported that at least a dozen of buildings have been burned in the fast-moving wildfire so far, with the fire spreading into the Mojave Desert.
"The smoke is on the desert floor," said Eric Sherwin of the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
Walls of flame reportedly rose from 50 to 100 feet high, burning to the ground buildings and homes in ranchlands 60 miles east of LA.
"I can confirm that we've lost structures, both residential and commercial," Sherwin added. "I'm looking up here and I'm seeing buses, I'm seeing outbuildings, I'm seeing houses."
The Fire Department explained that that the fire is difficult to fight, as it is burning in different terrains at multiple elevation levels.
CBS News reported that 40-year-old Damin Anthony Pashilk of Clearlake, California, has been arrested by authorities on 17 counts of arson. Pashilk is being accused of sparking the blaze over the weekend, and is also wanted on suspicion of involvement of several other fires over the past year in Lake County.
Pashilk is expected to go before a judge on Wednesday, where more details about the fire could be revealed.
California residents have been speaking out in the wake of the spreading wildfire, with Wade Holley telling CBS that "it was crazy how fast it went through town."
Holley explained that he pulled up to his family's Mechanic Shop on Sunday night, only to see the fire spreading downtown and engulfing nearby homes. "We were extremely lucky," he said.
Gov. Jerry Brown has meanwhile declared a state of emergency in the fire area, which allows for special resources and funds to be used for the firefight and recovery effort.
The footage below shows some of the devastation of the wildfire that continues raging in Southern California: