Videos captured dramatic moments Wednesday as the Silver fire swept through several small communities south of Banning.
The fire has already burned 10,000 acres, destroying homes and other structures.
The fire, first reported about 2 p.m. Wednesday, exploded in size within hours, driven by winds out of the west and prompting the mandatory evacuation of approximately 1,500 residents, some of whom were forced to "shelter in place" as the fire lines closed in and cut off exit paths.
Here is a video of the scene along Highway 243 Wednesday night:
This video shows the billowing smoke from the fire during its first hours:
Three people have been injured, including two firefighters who were treated and released at a local hospital, according to Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant. At least 15 structures, including some homes, were burned to the ground.
In response to a request from state officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday authorized the use of federal funds to assist with the firefighting effort.
Steve Harrison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego, said firefighters battling the blaze Thursday could expect low humidity with winds around 15 to 20 mph. In the Coachella Valley, gusts could reach 40 mph, he added.