Homes Destroyed, Emergency Declared as Fires Spread in California


A total of nine fires are currently burning in San Diego County, following a chaotic day for fire crews working to battle the blazes as county officials declared a local emergency. Residences have been destroyed, schools have closed and many residents will sleep in shelters, not knowing if their homes are safe or not.
Wednesday's fires began at 10:34 a.m. PT, with the latest fire beginning around 4:25 p.m. in San Marcos, a city north of San Diego. At time of writing, more than 30 homes had been destroyed in the fire with nine areas in the region either under mandatory or voluntary evacuation.
The City of San Diego had already declared a local emergency Tuesday when two separate fires, which are now partially contained, broke out. The County of San Diego issued one Wednesday afternoon as new fires spread, which called for Gov. Jerry Brown to issue a state of emergency in the region.

The Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar deployed its 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing to help fight the fires, sending 8 CH-46 helicopters each with buckets carrying 456 gallons of water.
Schools in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and California State University San Marcos all made announcements that they would close Thursday due to their proximity to the fires. (The picture below shows the fire atop Double Peak, near the university.)
An Encinitas resident, Joe Megna, described the scene to Mashable on Freeway 15, which cuts north from San Diego through the affected areas, as chaotic, with traffic so jammed that cars were effectively parked in both directions. It took him 30 minutes to exit the freeway, he said, but not before seeing the state of the situation in front of him.
"Everywhere you looked, you could see a fire," Megna told us. "In front of me, in back of me and to the right of me — all I could see were fire clouds out of something like an apocalypse."
Drought, record heat and high winds all contributed to the deteriorating scene in San Diego County Wednesday. The city of San Diego , reaching a high of 93 and a low of 67. The previous record high, from 1956, was 87 degrees.
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    Firefighters watch from a ridge as a helicopter drops retardant on a out-of- control wild fire on May 13, 2014, in San Diego.
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    Anthony Novom waters down smoldering vegetation surrounding his home in the Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood during a wildfire on May 13, 2014 in San Diego.
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    A helicopter attacks a wildfire burning in San Diego on May 13, 2014.
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    Firefighters battle a wild fire in the Santa Luz area on May 13, 2014.
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    Fire retardant falls over the hills to protect homes in Lompoc and to help control the fast moving Miguelito Fire on May 13, 2014.
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    Children play in Salmon Street Springs as temperatures hovered in the mid-80s in Portland, Oregon on May 13th 2014.
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    Santa Rosa resident Alexander Oceguera talks with friends in a drought ravaged Russian River, May 13, 2014 at Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach in Healdsburg, Calif.
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    Firefighters look on as a helicopter drops water on a wildfire in the Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood on May 13, 2014 in San Diego.
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    A fire fighter watches the fast moving Miguelito Fire on May 13, 2014.
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    Smoke rises from a canyon where a wild fire is burning Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego.

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