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Mass Exodus from flames: Nearly 1 million flee California wildfires

A helicopter swoops in close to wildfire flames to make a water drop over the Del Dios neighborhood of Escondido, Calif., on Tuesday. Below: Kristina Ford, right, hugs friend and neighbor Fran Meyers as they watch efforts to save Ford's home and others in the High Valley area of Poway, Calif., where at least a
dozen homes were destroyed Tuesday. Meyers did not know the fate of her home.

LOS ANGELES -- Firestorms raged across Southern California on an epic scale for a third day, with flames as high as 100 feet stoked by extremes of wind, heat, dryness and -- on the suburban frontier where some of the worst blazes roared -- the human impulse to live just a little farther out.

Brush fires still beyond the control of firefighters forced the largest evacuation in modern times, officials estimated. The orders called for vacating 350,000 homes, affecting 950,000 people. In San Diego County alone, where the largest fire more than tripled in size over 24 hours, evacuation orders went to more than a half-million people without reports of major hardships.


Image: Thousands sought shelter with church groups and strangers and at schools and a football stadium [AFP]

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