More fires and evacuations in weary California

Firefighters battled several active wildfires on Thursday in California but appeared to make headway against a number of major blazes that have forced mass evacuations and power cuts.
Two fast-moving infernos broke out early Thursday in the southern part of the state, burning several homes and forcing people to flee.

One — the Hillside Fire — was in San Bernardino, some 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, while the other — the 46 Fire — was in neighboring Riverside County.Hundreds of firefighters backed by water-dropping helicopters were attacking the infernos driven by record so-called Santa Ana winds that have prompted unprecedented warnings of “extremely critical” fire risk — the most severe category.

The National Weather Service said although the warnings would remain in effect through Thursday for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, conditions had improved.

“Winds are somewhat lighter today over most areas, which is good news for our firefighters,” it said.In northern California, firefighters reported making significant progress against the massive Kincade Fire, which erupted October 23 and has ravaged the Sonoma County wine region.

The blaze, the biggest this season, has destroyed nearly 300 homes and other properties, including several wineries, and burned nearly 77,000 acres (31,000 hectares). It was 60 percent contained on Thursday.


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