California forest fires rage during the suffocating heat, where new evacuations



Dozens of forest fires rage in the western states

High temperatures, winds fueling flames; Marianne Rafferty reports on the ongoing battle.

Firefighters were multiple forest fires that are wreaking havoc in California and other western states on Sunday, some brands were brought under control, while others prompted evacuations.

In parts of southern California, where temperatures have topped 100 degrees, driving winds that sent an inferno through Santa Barbara County disappeared in the morning, causing authorities to extinguish the charred ruins of approximately 20 structures.

A mandatory evacuation was reduced and most of the 2,500 people who had fled the late afternoon of Friday would be able to return home.

This early Saturday, July 7, 2018, photo shows the damage to vehicles and buildings from Fairview Ave., in Goleta, California.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire department via AP)

“There would likely have been fatalities in the last night that evacuations didn’t happen,” Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Eric Peterson told the Associated Press.

The fire spread was stopped at about 100 acres in a neighborhood where houses were destroyed and houses next door were still intact.

Eric Durtschi stood outside his house, where a burned-out car stood on the driveway and children’s bikes were scattered about.

A firefighter puts water on the fire in a home off Fairview Ave., in Goleta, California.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire department via AP)


Durtschi, his wife and six children had left Utah and moved in just a few weeks ago. He said that he had not been told of his two oldest children, their house was gone. He managed to collect his severely burned vintage guns, in the hope to save.

Elsewhere in Southern California, firefighters increased containment of the San Diego County fire that quickly spread over 400 acres, destroyed 18 structures and damaged eight, and a wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest held 1.5 square miles and forced the evacuation of about 700 homes in the mountain community of Forest Falls.

Fire also burned on the Marine Corps’ sprawling base Camp Pendleton in northern San Diego County.

A helicopter drops water in consultation with the firefighters on the ground trying to extinguish stubborn smoldering areas of fire off Fairview Ave., in Goleta, California.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire department via AP)

Under the new fires Saturday, a fire broke out on a steep mountainside just above the suburb of Los Angeles, Burbank and helicopters were flooded with water, trying to keep from getting out of hand.

Southern California fires began erupting on Friday as a strong high pressure over the West led to an epic heat wave that saw parts of Los Angeles broil at temperatures up to 117 degrees. There was little relief from the sweltering heat during the night.

Forecasters said the region’s siege of heat gradually ease through the weekend, but the unstable air mass unleashed rains that triggered flash flood warnings for the mountains northeast of Los Angeles.

Further in the north and in the south of California, Oregon border, the 22,000 square acres Klamathon Fire in rural Siskiyou County was only 20 percent contained. The body of a resident was Friday found in the ruins of a house, under 15 destroyed structures counted so far.

Elsewhere in California, the 138-square-mile County Fire northwest of Sacramento, was more than half contained Saturday. Ten structures were counted destroyed, but the damage assessments were continuing.

A woman looks at the charred remains of her mobile home after it was destroyed by a forest fire in the Alpine Oaks Estates where she has lived for more than eight years, in the Alps, Calif., Saturday, July 7, 2018.

(Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

Burn the whole state, a Colorado-based Boeing 747-400 two people was deployed to California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Christopher Carbone is a reporter and news editor covering science and technology for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

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