Fire crews in California are struggling to contain a wildfire that has destroyed 18 homes and threatens hundreds of others in mountains north of Los Angeles. The fire covers more than 22,000 acres and residents of about 1,500 homes near Santa Clarita have been evacuated. A body has been found in a burned-out car but it is not clear if the death is fire-related. Strong winds have fanned the flames and blown smoke and ash across Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief John Tripp said it started consuming houses that were non-defendable. He said the flames had charged through the

terrain like a freight train. The blaze, known as the Sand Fire, broke out last Friday in the Sand Canyon area near Santa Clarita, on the edge of the Angeles National Forest.
California's forestry department said another fire has also broken out further north in mountains near Big Sur. More than 1,000 homes have been evacuated in the communities of Palo Colorado and Carmel Highlands. About 900 firefighters are battling the flames, helped by helicopters and aeroplanes dumping water and fire retardant. Forecasters say there could be some relief in sight with cooler temperatures due to move in.

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