Wind Keeps Wildfires Spreading Throughout Calif.

Blaze inches closer to Big Sur; burn near Santa Barbara doubles overnight
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 4, 2008 4:15 PM CDT
Wind Keeps Wildfires Spreading Throughout Calif.
Firefighters keep an eye on a fire burning close to Highway 1 in Big Sur, Calif., today.   (AP Photo)

A pair of out-of-control wildfires roared along California's central coast today, chewing through opposite ends of a parched forest and threatening a total of more than 4,500 homes. While flames from the stubborn fire inched closer to Big Sur's historic vacation retreats, state emergency officials said hot winds had caused a newer blaze 200 miles south in Santa Barbara County to double in size overnight.  

Residents of more than 1,700 homes in and around the city of Goleta were ordered to evacuate, joining an equal number of people who were told to leave Big Sur days earlier Driven by wind gusts as high as 40 mph, the Santa Barbara County fire was so fierce early today that firefighters at one point took shelter in about 70 homes they were trying to defend. (More California wildfires stories.)

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