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Southern California wildfires burn with little containment as conditions worsen

Firefighters across Southern California are battling six major wildfires, and brutal Santa Ana winds are expected to continue fanning the flames through Thursday.

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California’s Department of Forest and Fire Protection tweeted Thursday afternoon that the new fires, the Lilac fire in San Diego County and the Liberty fire in Riverside County, are now being fanned by continued Santa Ana winds and low humidity.

Flames from the Lilac fire are growing at a “dangerous rate” with more than 1,000 structures threatened, the department’s San Diego office tweeted. At least five structures have been destroyed and an “unknown” number of structures have been damaged, officials said. More than 2,500 acres have been burned and the fire is 0 percent contained.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Diego County due to the Lilac fire, his office announced Thursday afternoon.

The weather is not cooperating with the hundreds of officials trying to contain the flames in the region. Red flag warnings have been extended across much of Southern California through Saturday, and high winds warnings are in effect for mountains and valleys in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Sustained winds were gusting to 66 mph at Boney Mountain in Ventura County, according to the National Weather Service. Winds could gust to 80 mph in the early hours Thursday, causing embers to spread even more. Much of Southern California is also experiencing humidity levels in the teens or even single digits.

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