People had little time to escape the flames that roared through dry brush and trees in the mountains of central California.
Reports say some 100 homes were destroyed in the southern Sierra Nevada as the fire burned out of control across 29 square miles there, leveling neighborhoods and forcing thousands of people to flee from fast-moving flames.
Simmering heat and arid conditions across the west have led to massive wildfires in the past week that have destroyed properties and sent residents scurrying for shelter elsewhere.
The latest blaze flared fast, putting some1,500 houses on its way in jeopardy.
Three firemen suffered from smoke inhalation as the local fire department faced a “firefight of epic proportions.”
Earlier this month, another wildfire called the Sherpa Fire in Santa Barbara County, fed by parched land and high winds, burned through about 7,811 acres (3,161 hectares) of land.
Officials placed at least 270 homes and businesses in the region under evacuation orders and cleared out camp-grounds and state beaches.