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Friday
May032013

California Brush Fires Torch Million-Dollar Homes

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A wildfire spurred by high winds is raging across Southern California, scorching 10,000 acres of land and sending thousands of residents fleeing from their homes as new evacuations are ordered.

More than 4,000 homes in the Camarillo, Calif., area have been threatened, while 15 have sustained damage.  About 10 percent of the fire has been contained as more than 900 first responders are on the scene battling the flames.  

There have been no reports of injuries.

Homeowners had to clear out with little warning, and too little time to grab precious possessions.  Million-dollar homes burst into flames, despite the best efforts of firefighters to protect them.

"I actually watched [my home] go up in flames, as well as my boat," one resident told ABC News.  "I can look up on the hill and it's completely gone."

Along with the Santa Ana winds, low humidity and thick, dry brush are adding to the mounting problems for firefighters.  The National Weather Service said strong Santa Ana winds and extreme fire danger would remain in the region through Friday.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered shortly before 8 p.m. local time Thursday in Sycamore Canyon and the La Jolla and Broome Ranch areas.  Residents in Dos Vientos are being allowed to access the area but must carry identification with them.

The fire line stretches 10 miles to the Pacific Coast Highway.

"Obviously, the fire can't go much further than the Pacific Coast Highway," Ventura County firefighter Tony McHale said.  "So in this area that's OK but we'd like to keep it out of the canyons further south from here.  We can use some of the highways and roads that are back there.  But, again, it's contingent on fire weather conditions."

The blaze erupted Thursday morning along U.S. 101 in the Camarillo area, about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles.  It was quickly spread by winds, which also pushed other damaging blazes across the region.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio