- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) - Wildfires tore through tinder-dry brush in California on Friday, forcing hundreds of homes to be evacuated as the southern region sweltered under triple-digit temperatures.

About 200 to 300 homes were ordered evacuated in the unincorporated Little Tujunga area north of Los Angeles because of a fire in nearby Santa Clarita.

“It just continues to move. It’s not slowing down,” Los Angeles County fire Inspector Joey Marron said late Friday night.

No homes had burned and the fire was heading southward into Angeles National Forest and away from densely populated areas north of it in Santa Clarita, which has about 180,000 residents.

Another 100 homes and a recreational vehicle park were evacuated in the afternoon after the fire erupted in dry, brown hills.

“I got all my tenants out of the RV park and for the people that weren’t there and still have dogs, I broke into their trailers and got their dogs out,” Kurtis Bell, manager of River’s End RV Park, told KCAL-TV.

Driven by 20-mph winds, the fire quickly enveloped more than 5 square miles of brush near a freeway, State Route 14. Some lanes were shut and Metrolink train service in the area was halted.

Huge flames leapt on ridgetops and smoke could be seen miles away in downtown Los Angeles.

“You could see the fire (on) the top of that mountain, the tops of all these mountains, 20 feet up in the air,” Bell said. “It absolutely looked like the apocalypse.”

About 300 firefighters and a dozen aircraft fought the fire. Nighttime images showed long glowing lines on the ridges, topped by soaring swaths of flames and walls of smoke.

Further south in San Diego County, a 20-acre fire briefly threatened some homes in the Ramona area before firefighters stopped its advance. And a blaze that began Thursday on the Camp Pendleton Marine base was 35 percent contained after burning more than a square mile of brush. No buildings were threatened.

In the steep, rugged canyons near the Central California coast, a fire near Big Sur in Monterey County burned nearly 1 ½ square miles of brush, grass and redwoods. Garrapata State Park south of Carmel was closed for the weekend.

It was heading toward the famously beautiful Big Sur forest and was expected to burn more fiercely at night as moist ocean air retreated and warm, dry air from inland began blowing toward the sea, state fire spokesman Jonathan Pangburn said.

No homes were immediately threatened in the sparsely populated area.

In Northern California, another blaze in Calaveras County was stopped at 57 acres.

The fire danger from gusty winds and low humidity was expected to continue into the weekend in Southern California. The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings through midnight Saturday for mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, and mountains and the south coastal areas of Santa Barbara.

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