SAN DIEGO -- California authorities now say 1,800 homes have been destroyed by the wildfires raging from north of Los Angeles to the San Diego area.
And officials now estimate that more than 500,000 people have been chased away from their property by flames so intense that firefighters on many fronts are helpless. Powerful winds are fanning embers.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says the flames threaten 68,000 more homes.
The fires, which have burned since Sunday, are blamed for at least five deaths, four of them in San Diego County. The medical examiner there says the deaths are connected to the fire because they occurred during or after evacuations. There have been more than 45 injuries, including 21 firefighters.
The weather isn't cooperating. Temperatures are about 10 degrees above average and winds gusts up to 60 miles per hour are expected at some locations.
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