The Latest: Southern California fire expanding into forest

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

9 p.m.

A wildfire south of Los Angeles is growing rapidly as it plows through the Cleveland National Forest.

The blaze that erupted Monday has scorched 6 square miles (16 square kilometers), destroyed one building and prompted evacuations of two canyons and some campgrounds.

It's the latest of nearly 20 large fires that are burning in California.

The largest is a twin-fire system north of San Francisco that has burned 75 homes and more than 440 square miles (1,100 square kilometers) of forest and rural lands, making it the largest fire in recorded California history.

A wildfire last December in Southern California previously held the record. The Thomas Fire also killed two people and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings.


7:20 p.m.

Authorities say twin blazes rapidly spreading in Northern California have become the state's largest wildfire in history.

The fires burning a few miles apart and known as the Mendocino Complex ignited July 27 and encompass an area the size of Los Angeles. It's the second straight year that California has recorded the state's largest wildfire.

Officials said Monday that the flames about 100 miles (259 kilometers) north of San Francisco grew to 283,800 acres (443.4 square miles or 1,148.4 square kilometers).

That surpasses a wildfire last year in Southern California that burned 281,893 acres (440.5 square miles or 1,140.8 kilometers). That one killed two people and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings.

The new fire has burned 75 homes. It is mostly burning in remote areas but has forced thousands of people to evacuate.


3:30 p.m.

Authorities have evacuated cabins in two communities in the Santa Ana Mountains in Orange County because of a fast-moving wildfire.

Jeanna Smith with the U.S. Forest Service says firefighters are attacking the fast-moving Holy Fire with a DC-10 air tanker and helicopters.

She says crews are "hitting it hard with everything we've got" in hopes of stopping the fire at the top of a ridge and keeping it from reaching homes a couple miles away.

The fire began around 2 p.m. Monday and quickly grew to more than a square mile (2.6 square kilometers).

Smith says about a dozen people have been evacuated from weekend cabins in the communities of Holy Jim and Trabuco Canyon.


1 p.m.

The owners of a historic Northern California resort say it has been damaged by a wildfire tearing through the Stanislaus National Forest.

The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that the near-century old Dardanelle Resort has sustained massive structural damage from a fire that erupted last week. The extent of the damage was unclear.

The rustic lodge 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of San Francisco is nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It offers cabin and motel rentals along with RV sites, a store and restaurant. Its Facebook page says it was established in 1923.

The U.S. Forest Service reported that the fire crossed Highway 108 Sunday evening, forcing crews to retreat from the fire's edge.

The resort owners said in a Facebook post that they are heartbroken by the news.


11:30 a.m.

Authorities say three men tending to a marijuana grow were arrested after they refused to leave a fire evacuation zone in Northern California, hindering firefighters' efforts against a massive blaze.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office says deputies on Saturday found the men watering a marijuana crop about 20 yards (18 meters) from the fire line.

The office says firefighters had to divert three very large air tanker passes as they worked to stop the fire from reaching the town of Lucerne because the "hostile" men wouldn't leave. They called authorities.

It says 59-year-old Steven Bell, 29-year-old Travis Bell and 41-year-old Gary Wertheimer were arrested on suspicion of interfering with firefighters and not having authorization to be in an evacuation zone.

They were released with citations.


10:30 a.m.

The Army is sending 200 active-duty soldiers to help battle wildfires in the Western U.S.

The National Interagency Fire Center said Monday the soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, will get three days of training starting on Thursday and will all be deployed to the same fire. The fire hasn't been chosen.

The fire center requested the soldiers from the Defense Department, which agreed to send them.

More than 127 wildfires are burning in 11 Western states, taxing civilian resources. At least three states have mobilized National Guard troops to help, and five military aircraft are assisting.

The fire center says active-duty personnel have been mobilized to help firefighters 37 times since 1987, most recently in September.


8 a.m.

Twin wildfires fueled by dry vegetation and hot, windy weather have continued to grow in Northern California.

California fire officials said Monday that the two fires about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of San Francisco were 30 percent contained and have scorched 428 square miles (1,108 square kilometers).

The two fires are burning about 14 miles (22 kilometers) apart and have destroyed 75 homes. Another 9,000 buildings are threatened.

The two fires cover an area larger than a deadly wildfire burning near Redding, California.

That blaze has killed two firefighters and five civilians and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

The wildfire started two weeks ago by sparks from the steel wheel of a towed-trailer's flat tire. It is 45 percent contained.

Related Video: Mendocino Fire Now the Largest in California History

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