Big Sur fire fight continues as new blaze spreads

Big Sur fire fight continues as new blaze spreads

Firefighting teams are battling a massive wildfire near California's Big Sur that is threatening thousands of homes for a 10th day, as a much newer blaze spread, rapidly, damaging homes as it more than doubled in size.

The newer blaze in Fresno County damaged some of the 200 evacuated homes in the area, but it was not yet clear how many, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The fatal blaze north of Big Sur grew on Sunday to 62.5 square miles, state fire officials said.

The wildfire has destroyed 57 homes and 11 outbuildings and is threatening 2,000 more structures. It was 18% contained on Sunday morning.

More than 5,000 firefighters are battling the blaze that killed a bulldozer operator working on the fire line.

The blaze, about the size of San Francisco, has also scared away tourists who are cancelling bookings after fire officials warned that crews would probably be battling a wildfire raging in steep, forested ridges just to the north for another month.

In Central California, the fast-moving fire is being fuelled by hundreds of dead trees amid triple-digit temperatures and single-digit humidity that are expected to last for several days.

Residents of the rural area surrounded by rolling hills said they scrambled to evacuate with their animals as the wind-driven blaze swept through dry slopes.

"We watched it explode, coming across Old Millerton Road, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger," Dana Bays told KFSN-TV.

The nearly three square-mile wildfire started on Saturday afternoon south of the town of Prather, about 30 miles north east of Fresno. The blaze was 5% contained on Sunday.

On the outskirts of Los Angeles, crews had nearly surrounded a 65-square-mile blaze that killed one man and destroyed 18 homes. That fire was 93% contained Sunday, nine days after it broke out in suburban Santa Clarita and spread into the mountainous Angeles National Forest.

Authorities have not determined the cause of the fire.

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