Southern California authorities have order the evacuation of 82,000 people from San Bernardino County after a wildfire broke in a mountain pass.
The blaze broke out on August 16 and has already engulfed about 15,000 acres of land.
Tens of thousands of homes are at risk from the so-called Blue Cut fire. A state of emergency has been declared.
Another fire, the Clayton, which broke out on August 13 in northern California, has destroyed 175 homes.
The Bluecut fire spread with great speed in the parched canyons around San Bernardino. At least a dozen buildings have already been engulfed.
Forest Service spokeswoman Lyn Sieliet said: “It is a very fast-moving fire, it has wind behind it.”
California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County to bring in federal assistance.
The wildfire forced the closure of a stretch of Interstate 15, the main road between Las Vegas and Los Angeles area.
Some 700 firefighters are battling to control the blaze in the Cajon Pass. Its cause remains unknown.
The fire is now heading into the Mojave Desert.
The main communities forced to evacuate were the ski resort of Wrightwood and the desert town of Phelan.
Further north, the Clayton Fire in Lake County was now 35% contained, California’s department of forestry and fire protection said.
The authorities announced on August 16 that Damin Pashilk, 40, was facing 17 counts of arson and was suspected of involvement in numerous other fires in the Lake County area over the past year. He will appear in court on August 17.
A third fire, the Chimney, has affected 6,900 acres since August 13 and has destroyed about 40 buildings in central California.
A California driver involved in a high-speed chase on I-225 was struck by gunfire from a police helicopter, officials have confirmed.
According to police, the driver had refused to pull over and had sped past stop signs and red lights.
Police opened fire when the car began heading the wrong way on a motorway. The driver was later confirmed dead.
A sheriff’s spokeswoman said shootings from helicopters were rare but deputies did train for such eventualities.
The incident began on September 18 in Devore, east of Los Angeles, when police tried to pull over a man believed to have committed a burglary.
The Chevrolet Tahoe SUV drove through residential districts at high speed, narrowly missing pedestrians, before getting on to I-215 the wrong way, a statement from the San Bernardino County sheriff’s department said.
A deputy in a helicopter giving chase opened fire, hitting the SUV several times.
The wounded driver jumped from the moving car and ran a short distance before collapsing and dying by the side of the road, the statement said.
Police say they are awaiting autopsy results to reveal whether the man died from gunshot wounds or from leaping from the vehicle.
Police spokeswoman Jodi Miller said officers decided to open fire because the driver was threatening public safety.
The driverless SUV crashed head-on into a Dodge Durango injuring three people, one of whom remains in hospital, police added.
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