CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST—Area residents fleeing a wind-driven wildfire plunged into a bottomless chasm opened up during a subsequent earthquake, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman confirmed this morning.
The 7.9 trembler—which occurred shortly after the inferno started—ripped opened up the gaping maw of hell itself and quickly swallowed up those attempting to escape the fast-moving fire front.
While Cal Tech geologist Lucy Jones maintained that severe earthquakes in Southern California have long been predicted, local clergy claimed the timing of two events to be “suspicious.”
“It appears to be cataclysmic in nature,” said Monsignor William O’Mally, assistant to San Bernardino Archdiocese Bishop Gerald Barnes.
Although equestrian ranches along the Ortega Highway were under a mandatory evacuation order, four horsemen on pale mounts were seen calmly sauntering through the Eden Village area of the national preserve.
Forest Service arson investigators have refused to comment on the cause of the fire, which has thus far scorched 666 acres.
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