Pilot fire grows to more than 7,700 acres, threatening homes and forcing schools to close

A wildfire in the mountains of San Bernardino County grew to more than 7,700 acres Tuesday, threatening thousands of homes and forcing schools to close, as crews across the state battled raging blazes in the late summer heat.

The Pilot fire has scorched 7,736 acres and is 6% contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service. About 5,000 homes were under voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders, according to Bob Poole, a spokesman for the forest agency.

Latest: Pilot fire scorches nearly 8,000 acres, containment jumps to 64% » 

Since the fire was reported about noon Sunday, the flames have spread quickly, chewing through dry brush amid sweltering heat and rising humidity.

On Tuesday, winds ranging from 10 to 15 mph —  with gusts of up to 25 mph —  fanned the blaze. Much of the fire’s growth of more than 700 acres Tuesday was driven by active winds.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.