Business, Economics and Jobs

California wildfires kill one, destroy 20 homes


US Forest Service firefighters stand near flames at the Williams fire in the Angeles National Forest on September 4, 2012 north of Glendora, California.


David McNew

California's wildfires have left one man dead and at least 20 homes destroyed as of Tuesday morning.

Though the fires in rural San Diego were down to a smolder, windy conditions were expected to reignite the flames that have taken their toll on the Southern Californian community. 

"If we get one ember over the line, the fire could take off,"  fire spokesman Andy Menshek told the Associated Press of the potential 40mph gusts. 

The brush fire, which is being referred to as the Shockey fire because it ignited off the Shockey Truck Trail and Route 94 Sunday, has raged through over 2,000 acres near the Campo Indian Reservation, UPI reported. Around 80 homes in the Campo area continued to be threatened on Monday, the North County Times reported

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The blazes also killed an 82-year-old man who refused police evacuation orders, the AP reported. 

"He felt that he was going to be OK if he stayed," sheriff's Lieutenant Rose Kurupas told the U-T San Diego newspaper

"He chose to stay and that's sad," Menshek told the AP. "That's why we issue these evacuations."

Though residents from two small communities near Campo were allowed to return home Tuesday, around 80 people remain under evacuation orders, according to Menshek. 

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, especially because there was a casualty involved. If someone is found to have started the blaze, they could face criminal charges, U-T San Diego reported.