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By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Talia Sclafania, via Twitter

July 18,2015 (San Bernadino County) – A fast-moving brush fire roared out of control yesterday in the Cajon Pass in San Bernadino County, trapping vehicles on the I-15 freeway along the main route from San Diego County to Vegas.  The blaze destroyed two semi-trucks and 18 other vehicles, damaging 10 more.  TV footage showed people fleeing along the side of the freeway and some vehicles turning backwards in what some have dubbed "Carmageddon."

At least two people suffered minor burns. A photo Tweeted by soccer player Talia Slafania, forced to abandon her vehicle, captured the terrifying panorama.

Alison Ash with 10 News, an ECM news partner, tweeted, “Insane flames on I-15. Firefighters scrambling to save lives. “ 10 News reporter Joe Little called the scene it a “freak nightmare.”

Cal Fire has reported that five drones were spotted near firefighting aircraft and two “actively chased” the planes. The planes were grounded to prevent a mid-air collision and the drones delayed air drops by over half an hour, definitely contributing to the fire swelling out of control and destroying vehicles, according to Cal Fire.

It is illegal to fly a drone close to firefighting aircraft.  Thus far, the owners of the drones have not been identified.

In the Mt. Baldy area, an additional 44 vehicles and 3 homes were destroyed, along with outbuildings.  Over 200 people remained in an evacuation center overnight.

The fire started yesterday around 2:38 p.m. near I-15 north of state route 138.  It has been holding at 3,500 acres since yesterday but remains only 5% contained according to the San Bernadino National Forest Incident webpage for the North Fire.

I-15 shut down in both directions yesterday but was reopened this morning.  Over a thousand firefighters and 22 engines continue to battle the blaze along with 6 fixed-wing aircraft including a DC-10 air tanker.

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