The Latest: 439 buildings burned in fire northwest of LA

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  • Steve Andruszkiewicz waters down his beach house as the sun is visible through thick smoke from a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 1

    Firefighters stand on the rooftop of a beach house to water down the property while battling a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 2

    Firefighters battle a wildfire as smoke rises from burning palm trees at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 3

    A firefighter battles a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 4

    Palm trees sway in a gust of wind as a firefighter carries a water hose while battling a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 5

    This Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 photo shows media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 16-acre (6.5-hectare) Moraga Vineyards estate, where about 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vines appeared to have been damaged after a wildfire swept through the Bel Air district of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • 6

    In this Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 photo, a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter makes a water drop on media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 16-acre (6.5-hectare) Moraga Vineyards estate, where about 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vines appeared to have been damaged, a spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • 7

    In this Dec. 6, 2017 photo, wildfire burns a portion of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 16-acre (6.5-hectare) Moraga Vineyards estate, where about 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vines appeared to have been damaged, a spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • 8

    A pickup truck passes a wildfire burning along the 101 Freeway in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 9

    Traffic moves along the 101 Freeway as smoke from a wildfire fills the air in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 10

    A firefighter battles a wildfire in Ojai, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

  • Steve Andruszkiewicz waters down his beach house as the sun is visible through thick smoke from a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 1

    Firefighters stand on the rooftop of a beach house to water down the property while battling a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 2

    Firefighters battle a wildfire as smoke rises from burning palm trees at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 3

    A firefighter battles a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 4

    Palm trees sway in a gust of wind as a firefighter carries a water hose while battling a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 5

    This Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 photo shows media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 16-acre (6.5-hectare) Moraga Vineyards estate, where about 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vines appeared to have been damaged after a wildfire swept through the Bel Air district of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • 6

    In this Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 photo, a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter makes a water drop on media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 16-acre (6.5-hectare) Moraga Vineyards estate, where about 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vines appeared to have been damaged, a spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • 7

    In this Dec. 6, 2017 photo, wildfire burns a portion of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 16-acre (6.5-hectare) Moraga Vineyards estate, where about 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of vines appeared to have been damaged, a spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • 8

    A pickup truck passes a wildfire burning along the 101 Freeway in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 9

    Traffic moves along the 101 Freeway as smoke from a wildfire fills the air in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • 10

    A firefighter battles a wildfire in Ojai, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) The Latest on Southern California wildfires (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

Fire officials say at least 439 homes and other buildings have burned in a wildfire northeast of Los Angeles.

The wind-whipped blaze has burned nearly 180 square miles (466 square kilometers) in Ventura County stretching from hilly forests to the Pacific Ocean. It is only 5 percent contained and gusty Santa Ana winds that have driven the fire are expected to continue.

Officials Thursday night say they have made good progress battling much of the fire but that thousands of homes remain in jeopardy.

One section of the blaze continues to move toward the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria and Montecito.

It's the biggest and most destructive of the windblown fires raking Southern California. Another fire that erupted Thursday in San Diego County has burned two people and destroyed at least 20 homes.

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4:50 p.m.

At least 20 homes have burned in a retirement community as a wildfire surges through northern San Diego County.

The homes are burning in the tightly-packed Rancho Monserate Country Club community in the small city of Fallbrook.

The wind-whipped blaze erupted Thursday afternoon and authorities say it's moving dangerously fast.

Two people have been burned and about 4 square miles (10 square kilometers) of land have been blackened.

The blaze is one of at least five destructive fires burning in Southern California. A fire that flared Thursday afternoon in the Murrieta area of Riverside County, north of San Diego County, has destroyed at least one home.

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3:40 p.m.

Authorities say they are treating two people who were burned as a fast-moving wildfire raged through a rural part of San Diego County.

California state fire officials said Thursday that the two victims were being taken to a hospital.

The fire has burned more than 1,000 acres (400 hectares) and destroyed at least five buildings. Fire officials say more than 1,000 others are threatened around the community of Bonsall.

They say the fire is "growing at a dangerous rate of spread."

Several evacuation centers have been set up nearby.

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3:05 p.m.

A fast-growing wildfire fanned by Santa Ana winds in rural San Diego County has burned 1,000 acres (400 hectares) only hours after starting.

State fire authorities said Thursday more than five buildings have been destroyed, an unknown number has been damaged and more than 1,000 others are threatened around Bonsall. The picturesque community of 4,000 people amid rolling hills is known for its equestrian facilities.

Officials shut down state Highway 76 in both directions, ordered mandatory evacuations around Bonsall and opened shelters at schools and casinos. The blaze started shortly after 11 a.m.

State officials said the military was assisting with helicopters. The area is near Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base.

It's the latest wind-driven fire in Southern California, including destructive blazes to the northwest in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

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2:50 p.m.

A text alert about dangerous fire weather conditions that was sent to 12 million Southern Californians in seven counties was the widest ever issued by the state Office of Emergency Services.

Winds early Thursday turned out not to be as dire as predicted, but Emergency Service Deputy Director Kelly Huston says the office erred on the side of caution because conditions were similar to those that led to 44 deaths in fires that broke out across Northern California on Oct. 8.

Huston says he would rather be criticized for potentially annoying someone than for not delivering a critical alert.

Some Northern Californians complained they never received evacuation alerts as the firestorms developed, and state lawmakers on Thursday announced plans to introduce legislation establishing statewide emergency alert protocols.

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2:45 p.m.

A fast-moving wildfire fanned by Santa Ana winds has burned more than 500 acres (200 hectares) in rural San Diego County within hours of starting.

State fire authorities said Thursday more than five buildings have been destroyed, an unknown number has been damaged and more than 1,000 others are threatened around the community of Bonsall.

Officials shut down state Highway 76 in both directions and ordered mandatory evacuations around Bonsall. The blaze started shortly after 11 a.m.

Evacuations include a mobile home park, a golf course country club and two schools. Two lanes of Interstate 15 are also closed.

It's the latest wind-driven fire in Southern California, including destructive blazes to the northwest in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

___

1 p.m.

San Diego County officials have ordered mandatory evacuations due to a fast-moving fire fanned by Santa Ana winds.

California state fire authorities say in a statement that the fire has destroyed two buildings and damaged 12.

The fire was reported about 11 a.m. Thursday near the rural community of Bonsall and has grown to 150 acres (60 hectares) amid gusts up to 35 mph (56 kph).

The evacuations include a mobile home park, a golf course country club and two schools. Two lanes of Interstate 15 are also closed.

It's the latest among wind-driven fires in Southern California, including destructive blazes to the northwest in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

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11:30 a.m.

Residents are being ordered to evacuate a tiny beachfront community northwest of Los Angeles where a huge wildfire is churning down hillsides toward seaside homes.

A California Highway Patrol officer drove through Faria Beach Thursday announcing the evacuations through a loudspeaker as surging winds roiled smoke through the streets.

Residents used garden hoses to spray palm trees to keep them from burning as firefighters scrambled to stop the progress of flames.

U.S. 101 along the coast was intermittently closed, as were several highways in and around the Ventura County resort town of Ojai (OH'-hi), where most of the 7,000 residents are under evacuation orders.

Thousands of homes remain threatened by at least four major Southern California wildfires that have destroyed structures and sent residents fleeing.

___

8:45 a.m.

A sheriff's official says a woman has been found dead after a car crash in an area under a mandatory evacuation order as the largest of the wildfires raged in Southern California.

Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Donoghue tells The Associated Press that the woman's body was found Wednesday night at the scene of a crash in the Wheeler Canyon area of Santa Paula.

Donoghue says the car was found off the roadway after what appeared to be a single-car crash. He says there were no witnesses to the crash, but no foul play is suspected.

Donoghue says investigators were still trying to determine if the death was connected to the wildfires or if the person was trying to evacuate from the area.

The woman's name hasn't been released and a cause of death is still being determined.

___

6:45 a.m.

Southern California authorities have ordered evacuations for the first time in Santa Barbara County as crews protect coastal communities from a destructive wildfire that's steadily marching west and northwest.

A key stretch of U.S. 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties was intermittently closed Thursday as flames jumped lanes.

Residents of 300 homes in the oceanfront city of Carpinteria were ordered to leave before dawn. A few miles down the coast, crews beat back flames creeping down hillsides toward the seaside hamlet of La Conchita, where at least one abandoned structure burned.

In Los Angeles County firefighters are watching for flare-ups as they try to contain three major blazes that have destroyed homes and sent thousands fleeing.

Forecasters say a more favorable wind forecast still calls for potentially dangerous gusts across the region.

___

5:15 a.m.

Authorities have closed a major freeway as flames from the largest and most destructive Southern California wildfire churn toward coastal and mountain communities northwest of Los Angeles.

Calmer overnight winds Thursday helped crews protect the Ventura County resort town of Ojai (OH'-hi), where most of the 7,000 residents are under evacuation orders.

The National Weather Service says a more favorable wind forecast still calls for potentially dangerous gusts, but ones not likely not to approach historic levels they'd feared.

Officials closed U.S. 101 for more than a dozen miles along the coast, cutting off a major route between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as fire charred heavy brush along lanes.

Thousands of homes remain threatened by at least four major Southern California wildfires that have destroyed structures and sent residents fleeing.

         

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