California wildfire forces-out 1,000 evacuations and destroys homes

Firefighters struggle to gain control of blaze as regions heatwave and dry conditions make it hard to contain

Flames racing through dry brush destroyed four homes and forced more than 1,000 people to flee a northern California lake community that was evacuated in a devastating wildfire last year.

Authorities ordered about 1,200 residents to leave 500 homes as the blaze surged south of the town of Lower Lake. The wildfire spread to more than two square miles by early Sunday, and crews faced hot weather and little cloud cover as they tried to get a handle on the flames burning largely out of control.

The fire activity could change in a moments notice right now, said Suzie Blankenship, a spokeswoman for the California department of forestry and fire protection.

The fire was throwing embers and spreading rapidly because of parched conditions brought on by the states historic drought, officials told. Large, explosive fires have torn through dried-out or hard-to-reach areas across California this summer, including a stubborn flame near the picturesque Big Sur coastline that has burned 113 square miles since late July and destroyed nearly 60 homes.

Californians braced for more heat on Sunday, with high temperatures expected to soar 10 degrees above normal in the southern part of the country. Some districts in far northern California also were warned of gusty gusts and strengthened flame threat, officials told.

In Lake County, the fire threatened the two houses of an additional 3,000 people in a subdivision, and they have been told to remain vigilant in case they need to evacuate, Blankenship told.

Danielle Colbeck, 36, find the flames from her home Saturday and decided to get off. She told the Press Democrat newspaper in Santa Rosa that she loaded her auto with her two cats and important newspapers and headed to a friends home.

When you find black smoke and flames from your driveway, you dont wishes to take a chance, said Colbeck, who lost her rental home and all of her belongings in the enormous fire that evacuated Lower Lake last year.

The blaze killed four people and destroyed more than 1,300 homes. It was considered Californias third-most-destructive wildfire after ravaging most of rural Lake County and parts of Napa County about 90 miles north of San Francisco. A report issued the coming week concluded that faulty wiring in a hot tub erupted the 120 -square-mile fire.

Another blaze that broke out Saturday afternoon forced the evacuation of 135 homes south of Lake Nacimiento in central California, the San Luis Obispo County sheriffs office told. It burned more than two square miles, but no homes have been lost and it is partially contained.

In the south, residents were readying for a heat wave. Temperatures were expected to reach triple digits in valley areas north of Los Angeles, stoking an increased risk of wildfires in inland regions through at least Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

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