LAKESIDE, Calif. (AP) — One Southern California wildfire burned three homes in the desert while another much larger one grew to over 15 square miles in the mountains as blazes erupted the across drought-parched state.
A 60-acre fire erupted in a palm grove in the desert town of Thermal, 135 miles southeast of Los Angeles. By late Thursday, it had burned three homes and several outbuildings, state fire officials reported.
About an hour’s drive northwest, a mountain wildfire burning since Wednesday exploded in size in a remote area of the San Bernardino National Forest.
About 400 people, including residents of about two dozen homes and several hundred campers, many of them children, had been evacuated as the fire burned south of Big Bear Lake, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.
No buildings were damaged as flames consumed heavy brush and 30-foot pines along mountain slopes at 6,000 feet.
Authorities airlifted a 74-year-old man to safety after the fire advanced to within a quarter-mile of a dry lake in the San Gorgonio Wilderness where he was hiking. The man told authorities he was on a 3-day backpacking trip that began in the area where the fire began.
Both blazes were 5 percent contained.
Other fires being fought included a 100-acre blaze in Yuba County in the Sierra Nevada foothills north of Sacramento. More than a dozen homes were ordered evacuated after a training fire for state crews reportedly was swept out of control by gusty winds north of Smartsville.
Crews also fought a 35-acre wildfire in Mariposa County; a 120-acre blaze in San Joaquin County, and a 40-acre fire near the Central California rural town of Bootjack that briefly forced evacuations.