Major Southern California blaze mostly contained, some evacuees return


  • World
  • Sunday, 18 May 2014

(Reuters) - Firefighters battling a major wildfire in Southern California surrounded most of the blaze overnight, a fire official said on Saturday as some evacuated residents returned in a region where dozens of homes were destroyed by a series of fires.

In all, nearly a dozen conflagrations scorched about 20,000 acres (8,093 hectares) of drought-parched brush across San Diego County this past week. As firefighters had several of the blazes under control, a man was charged on Friday with one count of arson in connection with one of the smaller fires.

With cool, moist air coming in from the Pacific coast, firefighters gained the upper hand overnight against the so-called Cocos Fire, one of the region's fiercest, that threatened the suburban community of San Marcos north of San Diego.

By Saturday morning, firefighters had contained 70 percent of the 2,900-acre (1174-hectare), said fire task force spokesman George Land. That marked a significant improvement from the start of Friday, when the blaze was only 10 percent contained.

The Cocos Fire destroyed a dozen houses and another 25 structures at a local spiritualism centre, county officials said in a statement.

The conditions on Saturday are expected to be less windy than earlier in the week, when hot, dry Santa Ana winds drove the flames on their destructive path.

Some residents evacuated from the San Marcos area were allowed to return home late on Friday, San Diego county officials said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how many residents were still unable to return home, but earlier in the week officials said 125,000 people lived in the evacuation zones for all the San Diego County wildfires combined.

A charred body was found on Thursday at a homeless encampment overrun by flames in coastal Carlsbad, although officials said they had yet to confirm the exact cause of death.

The Carlsbad blaze, which scorched 600 acres (243 hectares), left property losses of up to $15 million (8.9 million pounds), gutting eight houses and destroying an apartment building, officials said.

Meanwhile, Alberto Serration was charged on Friday with one count of arson in connection with a small fire this week in the coastal community of Oceanside, said a spokeswoman with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. Serration faces a maximum of seven years in prison, if convicted.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; editing by Gunna Dickson)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

U.S. Congress backs Good Friday Accords, House Speaker Pelosi tells Britain's Johnson
Under scrutiny in murder inquiry, Haiti's PM receives international backing
Blinken calls France vital partner in Indo-Pacific
Faroe Islands look into dolphin killings after record slaughter
Macron, Merkel vow to cooperate closely until new German government is formed
EL Salvador drafts proposal for controversial constitutional changes
Will of Queen Elizabeth's late husband will be sealed, court decides
Berlusconi refuses court-ordered medical check-up, trial to continue
Argentina's Fernandez calls for unity as political 'circus' spooks markets
Venezuelan ex-general discussing possible plea with U.S. - prosecutor

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers