Some heat relief forecast as California fires rage

Hannah Rogers
July 9, 2018

It has destroyed 15 structures, damaged three and threatened 96.

Gusty northern winds of up to 45 miles per hour are expected in the Santa Monica mountain region, Santa Clarita Valley, Santa Barbara south coast and San Fernando Valley on Saturday.

This year's fires had burned more than 2.9 million acres (1.17 million hectares) through Friday, already more than the annual average of about 2.4 million acres (971,000 hectares) over the last 10 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Cause of the fire remained under investigation. California Governor Gerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in San Diego County, where a fire has destroyed several homes near the town of Alpine.

A firefighter puts water on flames at a home on Fairfield Avenue in Goleta.

Further up north and just south of the California-Oregon border, the 34-square-mile (88-square-kilometer) Klamathon Fire in rural Siskiyou County was just 5 percent contained.

County officials on Friday night had said the blaze started as a structure fire that spread to the brush, but Saturday they indicated the original dispatch was for a vegetation fire. It was 48 percent contained.

While no fatalities have been reported, the fire spread in 100-plus degree weather nearly as fast as some residents could flee their homes, the newspaper reported.

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"Firefighters will continue to do aggressive mop-up of hot spots in the impacted area", the county said in a statement announcing the changes. He was injured on July 5 in the Klamathon fire burning on the California-Oregon border.

About 75 miles east of Los Angeles, a wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest prompted mandatory evacuations for the entire community of Forest Falls, which has about 700 homes and about 1,000 residents. It has destroyed 10 structures since it broke out June 30. Ray Haupt, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said losses included homes and livestock. Ten structures were counted destroyed but damage assessments were continuing.

The fire spans about 193 square kilometres near a popular fishing reservoir about 130 kilometres southeast of Salt Lake City, according to the Utah Division Forestry Fire State Lands. Many homes and cabins likely burned, while others may be sheds or garages.

Growth on Colorado's third largest wildfire in terms of size in state history has slowed, but it is still spreading.

It grew to 22,000 acres Saturday, but conditions helped firefighters reach a 20 percent containment, officials said.

Crews also had 50 percent containment of a southwestern Colorado fire that has blackened 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) north of Durango.

Other major fires in the state are close to being fully contained.

Authorities said one person was killed in the fire. A stretch of busy U.S. Highway 285 between Fairplay and Antero Junction reopened Saturday.

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