'Unprecedented' fire conditions so early in the season keep wildfires burning across California
Friday, May 16, 2014, 8:20 AM - The wildfires in California have turned deadly.Ten fires charred thousands of acres, forced mass evacuations and have resulted in at least on death so far.
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Fueled by dry air and wind, the fires have raced across San Diego county, destroying 20 homes and leaving crews battling a "moving target," fire officials say.
Years of drought conditions in southern California have also been "prime" for wildfires, experts say.
Horrified neighbours say these conditions are the worst they've ever seen.
"It was really terrifying. I was just thinking about my dogs at home, how am I going to get home," one resident said. "I was worried about my neighbours, you know, just all the families down here. It was just really bad."
Here you can see a map of the many blazes currently burning in the San Diego area.
"For us to see fire conditions like this in May, it's unheard of," says Mike Mohler, Fire Captain with California Fire. "It's unprecedented to see this type of weather and fuel conditions. but we prepare for that. not only cal fire, but all the local operators in California."
With all of California dealing with severe to exceptional drought conditions, officials say "fire season" is now year-round.
Firefighters are hoping cooler temperatures and decreasing wind speeds will help them catch a break on Friday.
It's unclear what sparked the fires, although some residents suspect arson.