The Latest: Fast-moving flames force people to flee speedily

The Latest on Southern California wildfires( all times local ):

3 p. m.

The California wildfires drove retirees from a mobile home park with only minutes to spare.

Ferocious winds whipped triggers into massive inferno that have destroyed more than 500 houses, killed dozens of ponies and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee from their homes.

The flames have burned nearly 250 square miles since Monday.

Fire sprang up so quickly that many who managed to escape unscathed did so with little more than the clothes on their backs. Three people were burned trying to escape.


11: 04 am.

Some residents have returned to the wreckings of homes they fled when a wind-driven wildfire roared through northern San Diego County.

Retirees Dick and Joan Marsala find the wreckage of their mobile home still smoldering Friday morning.

Their daughter, Misty Sherman, says her mothers had expended 11 years in their dream home at Monserate Country Club.

They fled Thursday with merely a change of clothes and their medications as flames engulfed the tiny community. They first went to a nearby hotel, but then had to flee from the flame again.

After returning home, Dick Marsala climbed among the charred remains in search of his wallet, but the debris was still too hot and he climbed back away. Seeming through a window, he saw a framed photo of himself golfing still hanging on a blackened wall.


10: 38 a.m.

A new wildfire has ignited in San Diego County, which is already reeling from a wind-driven blaze that has destroyed at the least 85 structures.

Authorities say the new fire is near the mountain town of Alpine, about 30 miles( 48 kilometers) east of downtown San Diego. The flame remains small, but officials say they are sending numerous resources to fight it.

The larger fire 50 miles (8 0 kilometers) north of San Diego kindled for unknown reasons Thursday during fierce Santa Ana winds, which have since abated.

More than 1,000 firefighters are on the ground, aided by seven air tankers and 15 helicopters, including two each from the Marines and Navy.

Authorities say 10,000 people were evacuated and 900 are in shelters.


10: 10 a.m.

Authorities say 85 structures have been destroyed by a wind-driven wildfire that swept through a semi-rural area of northern San Diego County.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob says it’s not clear if all of those structures are homes.

The fire erupted Thursday and rapidly expanded to more than 6 square miles( 15 sq. kilometers) until fierce Santa Ana winds subsided.

Cal Fire says there’s still zero containment, but a fleet of air tankers will be aiding more than 1,000 firefighters on the ground.


7: 48 a.m.

At least 65 structures have been destroyed by a wildfire in semi-rural north San Diego County.

Cal Fire also says there’s still no containment of the fire early Friday.

The blaze exceeded 6 square miles( 16 square kilometers) in a matter of hours Thursday and burned dozens of houses as it tore through the tightly packed Rancho Monserate Country Club community in the small city of Fallbrook.

Strong gales subsided overnight, but forecasters say they will return afterwards Friday, although they will be less widespread.

The fire is on the eastern border of the Marine Corps’ sprawling Camp Pendleton, and military aircraft are expected to help combat the flames.


6: 04 a.m.

Winds driving an uncontained wildfire in northern San Diego County subsided substantially overnight but forecasters say they will return after sunrise Friday.

The fire erupted Thursday and rapidly burned dozens of homes as it spread over more than 6 square miles( 15.5 sq. kilometers) and pushed west.

The National Weather Service says there will be a resurgence of breezes after daybreak with gusts up to 60 mph( 96 kph) immediately below mountain slopes and in passes but will be less widespread than on Thursday.

The fire also tore through a horse racing develop centre, where state authorities now calculate about 25 of the 500 ponies stabled there were killed.


12: 14 a.m.

California’s newest wildfire tore through retirement communities built on golf courses and killed elite thoroughbred horses in its first destructive day.

The new blaze in San Diego County means a huge swath of Southern California is now in flames. December’s shockingly dry, hot and windy conditions brought on unprecedented fire danger.

The San Diego-area fire quickly grew to more than 6 square miles and burned dozens of homes at Rancho Monserate Country Club.

Flames engulfed a pony training centre, inspiring trainers to unlock stables and promote hundreds of race horses to run for “peoples lives”. It’s not clear how many died.

The region’s biggest flame, which is 200 miles north, keeps growing and has destroyed more than 400 homes and buildings.

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