A massive wildfire destroyed at least 18 homes and threatened 1,500 more Sunday as flames churned through tinder-dry canyons north of Los Angeles where authorities found a burned body in a neighborhood.
Planes and helicopters dropped water and retardant on the blaze that has blackened more than 34 square miles of brush on ridgelines near the city of Santa Clarita and the Angeles National Forest. About 300 miles up the coast, crews were battling another blaze spanning 16 square miles north of the majestic Big Sur region.
Crews faced another day of hot weather, low humidity and high winds that could once again fan the fires’ explosive growth. Shifting winds sent smoke away from greater Los Angeles and into desert communities, where residents were warned about poor air quality.
Eighteen homes were gutted and one was damaged Saturday in the Santa Clarita area, where evacuations were ordered as flames raged through brush withered by days of 100-degree temperatures in a Southern California heat wave.
The body of a man was discovered Saturday in a burned sedan outside a home in the city. The death was under investigation, but there was no evidence it was a crime, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Fire officials say more than 1,600 firefighters were battling the flames threatening about 1,500 homes and 100 commercial buildings.