Brush fire destroys homes in San Diego County, California; Hundreds evacuated

A fire threatening a California town near the OR border has killed one person and closed southbound Interstate 5 overnight, authorities said.

Details on the fatality were not released Friday pending notification of next-of-kin, but the victim was found in a structure in Hornbrook, according to Sheriff Jon Lopey of Siskiyou County.

The Associated Press reported that it was unclear how numerous destroyed buildings were homes rather than garages, barns and other buildings in the rural area of about 250 people.

Bushfires in the west of the United States have killed one person and torched hundreds of homes, with new fires sweeping Southern California as the state struggles through a record-setting heatwave.

On the California-Oregon border, the fire ignited Thursday and moved swiftly through the region that is home to many retirees, said Ray Haupt, chairman of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors. Nine structures have been destroyed and some 100 homes were said to be in danger. The fire has grown to cover more than 21,000 acres.

The county issued a local emergency declaration, saying the fire "is causing conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons".

The fire has burned about 75 square miles (193 square kilometers) and destroyed 90 structures, including homes, cabins, sheds and garages, since starting July 1 in mountains about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Salt Lake City.

The blaze started Thursday and is spreading fast, and about 750 people have been evacuated, fire officials said. "We're talking hundreds of homes". Almost 2,500 people in the Cathedral Oaks neighborhood are evacuated. Saturday morning, Cal Fire San Diego tweeted that firefighters continue to make progress, and containment has risen to 30 percent. But the threat of a deluge raised the possibility of flooding in the area of a stubborn blaze in the southwestern corner of the state.

350 fire personnel were battling the blaze from ground and air.

In Colorado, a fire crew of 1,444, aided by local rains and higher humidity on Friday, continued to battle the Spring Creek fire north of the Arizona border, which has consumed 105,704 acres and is 35 percent contained, local officials said.

San Bernardino National Forest was also evacuated while at least 200 acres burned.

Related news