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Firefighters work to contain a wildfire burning off Merrill Dr. in Moraga, Calif., on Oct. 10, 2019.The Canadian Press

A mobile home community burned and a middle school was evacuated Thursday as a wildfire rapidly spread in Southern California, one of several blazes statewide fed by Santa Ana winds.

The fire erupted in the Calimesa area of Riverside County and quickly destroyed about two dozen homes as crews with air support scrambled to contain it.

The cause was not known, and the area was not listed among the latest communities where Southern California Edison has cut power in an effort to prevent wildfires caused by windblown wires.

Mayor Bill Davis told KTLA-TV he didn’t know if everyone got out before flames swept through Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park about 75 miles (120 kilometres) east of downtown Los Angeles.

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Students sheltered in place as smoke enveloped nearby Mesa View Middle School before buses arrived and evacuated them to another school outside the fire zone.

The blaze is one of several that have broken out since winds developed.

Two of the state’s utilities shut off power to millions of residents as a precaution so their equipment won’t spark fires.

Just to the west of Calimesa, firefighters contained a blaze that damaged two homes near Fontana. It was not immediately clear whether the power outage included the location where the fire broke out.

In Northern California, a fire burning on San Bruno Mountains south of San Francisco was 60 per cent contained.

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