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Multiple structures burn in the Poppet Flats area as the Silver Fire roared through the area along Hwy 243 between Banning and Idyllwild, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Frank Bellino)

Wildfire in inland mountains of Southern California

Firefighters launched a fleet of retardant-dropping airplanes Friday against Southern California's latest destructive wildfire, a blaze that experts say is part of an early siege of conflagrations in the state.

Some 1,600 firefighters battled the blaze in the San Jacinto Mountains that has destroyed 26 homes and threatened more than 500 others in the last two days as seven retardant-dropping tankers joined eight helicopters in the aerial assault.