Wildfires Scar the Drought-Ridden Southern California Landscape



Fueled by record heat, high winds and unusually intense drought conditions, at least nine wildfires have hop-scotched across southern California, destroying homes and killing one person. Several of the fires remained out of control on Friday, including the San Marcos Fire that has claimed at least one life and destroyed an unknown number of homes. At least 125,000 people were evacuated from their homes at the height of the blazes.

While southern California is known for experiencing wildfires, they don't typically occur during May. This year, though, is different because of an intense drought that covers the entire state.
Officials are anticipating one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, and there have already been about twice as many fires as the state typically sees by this date.

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    A Riverside firefighter moves away as shifting winds bring a plume of smoke overhead during a wildfire, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, California.
    IMAGE: GREGORY BULL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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    A woman douses water from a hose around her home as her neighbor's home burns during a wildfire, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, California. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders.
    IMAGE: GREGORY BULL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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    A huge plume of smoke from the Cocos San Marcos fire, seen from atop Mount Soledad in La Jolla, on May 15, 2014 in San Diego, California.
    IMAGE: KENT C. HORNER/GETTY IMAGES
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    A ranch smolders at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California.
    IMAGE: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES
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    Los Angeles City firefighters extinguish flames that swept up a hillside behind a parking lot at Palisades Charter High School in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, May 15, 2014.
    IMAGE: REED SAXON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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    Firefighters move back down the embankment to the brush fire, May 15, 2014, in San Marcos, Calif. Gusty winds failed to return Thursday morning in San Diego County wildfire areas and authorities said it was a window of opportunity to make further gains against flames that burned homes and drove tens of thousands from their homes.
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    A house burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California.
    IMAGE: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES
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    A firefighter pulls a hose into position to battle the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California.
    IMAGE: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES
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    Flames spread near a firefighter at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California.
    IMAGE: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES
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    Del Mar firefighters roll up a hose after a day fighting wildfires May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, California.
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    An airplane drops fire retardant on a fire May 14, 2014 in San Marcos, California.
    IMAGE: BILL WECHTER/GETTY IMAGES
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    A ranch is left a smoldering ruin by the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California.
    IMAGE: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES
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    A firefighter hoses down the smoldering ruins of a house that was destroyed in the Poinsettia fire, one of nine wildfires fueled by wind and record temperatures that erupted in San Diego County throughout the day, on May 14, 2014 in Carlsbad, California.
    IMAGE: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES
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    A wildfire burns along the hillside on May 14, 2014, in San Marcos, California.
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    Residents photograph the burning ruins of their home that was destroyed in the Poinsettia fire on May 14, 2014 in Carlsbad, California.
    IMAGE: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES
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    Jeff Buchanan waters the scorched earth around a neighbor's house that burned to the ground during a wildfire, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, California.
    IMAGE: GREGORY BULL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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    A Del Mar firefighter rolls up hose after a day fighting wildfires May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, California.
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    A plane drops fire retardant over a hot spot on May 14, 2014, in San Marcos, Calif. Flames engulfed suburban homes and shot up along canyon ridges in one of the worst of several blazes that broke out in Southern California.
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    Firefighters spray water on a burning commercial structure at the Poinsettia fire, on May 14, 2014 in Carlsbad, California.
    IMAGE: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES



















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