- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

9 p.m.

Officials say a wildfire burning near Big Sur has destroyed 34 homes as fire crews struggle to contain it.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says 10 outbuildings also have been burned by the blaze that has charred 37 square miles.

Firefighters working around the clock got a break early Wednesday from cooler temperatures and increased humidity but by mid-afternoon fire activity increased due to hot temperatures and lower humidity.



The blaze is 10 percent contained.

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6:30 p.m.

A spokesman with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office says a group of men rescued from the fire burning near Big Sur appear to have been illegal marijuana growers.

John Thornburg told the Monterey Herald (https://bit.ly/2ab2Gpy) Wednesday the marijuana burned in the fire and no arrests were made.

The group was hiking in the southeast portion of the fire area when bulldozing crews spotted them Tuesday.

Search and rescue crews from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, along with the bulldozer operators, evacuated the eight men to a campground.

Video of the men shows them covered in soot and wearing work boots or sneakers.

No one was seriously injured.

___

9:20 a.m.

A bulldozer operator fighting the massive wildfire outside of Big Sur was killed overnight working the blaze that has now spread to more than 36 square miles.

The name and age of the operator was not immediately available. Details of how the accident happened were also not immediately available.

Another bulldozer operator escaped injury when the piece of equipment rolled over and sustained minor damage.

Firefighters working around the clock got a break early Wednesday from cooler temperatures and increased humidity. The blaze has destroyed 20 homes and is threatening 2,000 more. It was only 10 percent contained early Wednesday.

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7:45 a.m.

Eight hikers are recovering after being rescued from the fire lines on the south side of a massive blaze burning near Big Sur.

KNTV reports (https://bit.ly/2agon9A ) Wednesday that officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection say the men went hiking last weekend and became lost. They had little water and food.

When the fire broke out, the men became stranded and didn’t know which direction would lead them to safety, the station reported.

Bulldozing crews spotted the men Tuesday. Search and rescue crews from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, along with the bulldozer operators, evacuated them to a campground.

No one was seriously injured.

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6:55 a.m.

The fire command says the huge blaze in northern Los Angeles County is now 40 percent surrounded.

The wildfire grew slightly overnight to nearly 60 square miles. A handful of neighborhoods remain evacuated Wednesday morning.

The fire erupted Friday afternoon in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Eighteen homes have been destroyed.

To the north, officials say some 2,000 homes remain threatened by a fire in the scenic Big Sur region that has charred nearly 37 square miles of brush. That blaze is just 10 percent contained.

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6:30 a.m.

A scenic stretch of California’s Highway 1 is open, but state parks near Big Sur remain closed as crews try to beat back a destructive wildfire that threatens to crest a ridge and make a run toward coastal campgrounds, lodges and redwoods.

Firefighters working around the clock got a break early Wednesday from cooler temperatures and increased humidity. The blaze that has destroyed 20 homes and charred 36 square miles of brush was only 10 percent contained late Tuesday.

To the south, firefighters continue to make progress containing a huge blaze in mountains outside Los Angeles. Crews face another day of temperatures in the 90s to low 100s as they fight the fire that has destroyed 18 homes near Santa Clarita.

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