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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Thousands Flee Wildfires in California

APA helicopter scooping water from a golf course pond in Valencia on Monday.
SAN DIEGO -- Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes Tuesday, bringing the number of people chased away by the wind-whipped flames that have engulfed Southern California to at least 300,000.

The dozen wildfires have burned more than 700 homes and set 99,537 hectares ablaze, and the destruction may only be the start for the region. Tuesday's forecast called for hotter temperatures and more explosive Santa Ana gusts.

The blazes bedeviled firefighters as walls of flame spread so quickly that even hotels serving as temporary shelters for evacuees had to be evacuated.

Evacuations were being announced in one community after another as firefighters found themselves overwhelmed by gale-force Santa Ana winds, some gusting to 113 kilometers per hour.

As dawn broke, authorities issued a new round of evacuations for about 5,600 homes in San Diego County. State officials warned that the total estimate of evacuees in the region could rise.