Klamathon Fire kills 1; dozen wildfires dot California

HORNBROOK Ore. – A local community is being partially evacuated due to a wildfire in Siskiyou County

Crews have built at least 80 percent containment on a wildfire that destroyed 20 homes in Santa Barbara County and a central San Diego County fire that burned 18 structures. Investigators are working to determine the person's cause of death and are waiting to release their identity until next of kin can be notified. The man had stayed through the night spraying down other people's houses. California Governor Gerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in San Diego County, where a fire has destroyed several homes near the town of Alpine.

California was one of several Western states where recent wildfires have destroyed homes and forced thousands of people to evacuate.

New mandatory evacuation orders were issued Saturday afternoon for the Klamath River Community Estates east of Black Mountain to Desavado Road, west of Ager and north of Yreka Ager Road. Multiple structures are threatened, damaged or destroyed, the department said.

Further up north and just south of the California-Oregon border, the 34-square-mile (88-square-kilometer) Klamathon Fire in rural Siskiyou County was just 5 percent contained.

County Fire Chief Eric Peterson thanked residents for heeding the call to evacuate, allowing firefighters to focus on fire suppression rather than rescues. A map from the department shows they span from the OR border south to San Diego County; from the west, in Santa Barbara County, to the east, on the border with Nevada.

Friday marked a grim beginning to what fire officials have warned will be another year of extreme fire danger, as much of Southern California remains under drought conditions.

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Crews in Northern California tried on Thursday to cut containment lines around the County Fire, which has already burned across some 135 square miles.

More than 30 engines, including 120 firefighters, were on the scene battling the fire in 100-degree heat and gusty winds.

Southern California firefighters are taking advantage of calm conditions to attack a small but destructive wildfire in the Santa Barbara County community of Goleta, one of many conflagrations burning in the hot and dry West. More than 3,600 personnel are fighting the fire.

"We don't even have an address because of the devastation around the area", Siskyou County sheriff's Lt. Jeremiah LaRue told the San Francisco Chronicle. Winds are now pushing the fire southwest.

"We are still in the early stages of aggressively attacking this fire with both ground and air resources", she said.

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