SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Hot, dry winds and high temperatures continued to fan wildfires across California yesterday, often pushing firefighters into rugged terrain to contain the flames even as they watched for new blazes.
"Things are so dry out there that it doesn't take much for a spark or an ember to quickly develop into a wildfire," CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
A fire near the Santa Cruz County mountain communities of Swanton and Bonny Doon - called the Lockheed fire because of its proximity to a Lockheed Martin Corp. Space Systems facility 70 miles south of San Francisco - was 50 percent contained after burning 10 square miles since Wednesday and leading to the evacuation of 2,400 people.
The blaze still threatened 250 homes. As many as 2,165 firefighters were battling it.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the Lockheed fire was among 11 burning in California. A state of emergency was declared in the county.
A fire in Yuba County, north of Sacramento, had burned more than three square miles after jumping the Yuba River and moving away from the Sierra Nevada foothills community of Dobbins, which had been threatened. About 120 residents who had left their homes were able to return, Berlant said.
That fire, ignited by burning feathers from a red-tailed hawk that flew into a power line, was 15 percent contained, but 600 homes were still threatened yesterday.
Nearly 1,400 fire personnel were fighting that blaze, though the steep, rough terrain was making their work difficult.
In Alameda County more than 330 firefighters were gaining ground on a grass fire that had burned 23 square miles near Tracy, said Alameda County Fire Department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles. The Corral fire was 85 percent contained.