Fires Across California Force Evacuations, Claim Homes And At Least One Life

Fires Across California Force Evacuations, Claim Homes And At Least One Life

A fast-moving brush fire in the Santa Barbara County community of Goleta has damaged or destroyed 20 homes and structures and was threatening scores more Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, California's largest wildfire of the year, the County Fire, could grow more active and smoky as higher temperatures, lower humidities and stronger winds return to Yolo and Napa counties, Cal Fire said.

The 54,129-acre fire north of Durango is 50 percent contained as of Saturday night, according to fire officials.

In a Facebook interview with the Redding Record Searchlight, the sheriff's office said the person who died during the fire was found inside a building and investigators are trying to determine the manner of death. The man had stayed through the night spraying down other people's houses. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in the county on Saturday. Almost 2,500 people in the Cathedral Oaks neighborhood were evacuated.

The fire was partially contained, but crews struggled in steep, rugged terrain. It was 43 percent contained on Saturday, the officials said.

The Klamathon Fire more than doubled in size Friday night, roaring to 21,800 acres on the OR and California border.

The so-called Holiday fire "exploded Friday night amid 100-degree temperatures and risky "sundowner" winds that made the blaze impossible to control", the Los Angeles Times wrote.

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But Santa Barbara County isn't the only county to receive assistance from Cal Fire SLO. That blaze destroyed more than 1,000 buildings in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. It marked the first fatality of the fire season in California.

Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said there was no wind at all Saturday morning - a far different situation than Friday night when the fire erupted and was spread wildly by 50 miles per hour gusts.

Authorities described "extreme fire behavior with movement in multiple directions", with threats to the California communities of Hornbrook and Hilt as well as Colestin, Oregon.

Officials issued a flash flood watch for the 85-square-mile (220-square-kilometer) area burned by a fire that started June 1.

"Starting Monday we're going to see a gradual cool down, as we shave just a few degrees off each day until about midweek it gets to something like normal, in the mid-90s (Fahrenheit) inland and 80s at the coast", said Jim Hayes of the NWS Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Firefighters also battled blazes in Alpine, Camp Pendleton, the San Fernando Valley, Cajon Pass, Forest Falls and Montecito Heights.

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