Historic wildfires: California seeks federal disaster declaration

Updated Dec 8, 2017 3:17 AM EST

California’s newest wildfire tore through retirement communities built on golf courses and killed elite thoroughbred horses in its first destructive day. The new blaze, in San Diego County, means a huge swath of Southern California is now in flames. December’s shockingly dry, hot and windy conditions brought on unprecedented fire danger.

The San Diego-area fire quickly grew to more than 6 square miles and burned dozens of homes at Rancho Monserate Country Club.  Flames engulfed a horse training center, prompting trainers to unlock stables and encourage hundreds of race horses to run for their lives. It’s not clear how many died.

The destructive blaze broke out as firefighters tried to corral the largest fire in the state, which was burning around Ventura – 130 miles to the north. It destroyed at least 430 buildings as it grew to 180 square miles since Monday. Fire crews also fought large fires around Los Angeles. The Ventura and L.A.-area fires put tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders. 

According to CalFire, as of very late Thursday night, six large fires had burned  220 square miles, 190,000 residents were evacuated, 23,000 homes were threatened, 500 were confirmed destroyed and there were 5,700 firefighters on the lines. 

A woman was found dead in a wrecked car in an evacuation zone near the city of Santa Paula, where the Ventura County blaze began Monday night, but officials couldn’t immediately say whether the accident was fire-related.

Follow along below for live updates on the fires. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.


The wildfires burning in Southern Califorina on Dec. 7, 2017

CBS News

2:55 a.m.: Injuries reported in Lilac fire

CalFireSanDiego reports three people suffered burns in the Lilac fire and one was suffering from smoke inhalation. In addition, the agency said one firefighter sustained a minor injury and another had smoke inhalation.

2:11 a.m.: Calif. governor requests federal disaster declaration

California Governor Jerry Brown asked President Trump to declare a state of emergency for Southern California to aid state and local efforts to fight the historic wildfires burning in the region, Brown’s office said late Thursday.

The request follows emergency proclamations by Brown for San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

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