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Wildfires Ravage Southern California

There's no relief for firefighters and residents in Southern California as wildfires continue to burn out of control. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated and hundreds of homes lost.

The winds had died down on Tuesday, but are still blowing enough to affect the wildfires, Scott Horsley reports. Fire officials say this is a very unpredictable time because the winds and fires are beginning to shift, making it difficult for firefighters to determine where the wildfires may spread.

Many Southern California residents are staying with friends, relatives and in hotels. There are also about two dozen emergency shelters set up around the area, including one at Qualcomm Stadium, where the San Diego Charges football team plays.

Additional firefighters and equipment are arriving, but officials say it will take time to extinguish the wildfires.

For now, about 10,000 evacuees are camped out at the Qualcomm Stadium in downtown San Diego. Andrew Phelps with member station KPBS talks to Ryan Anderson, a single dad of twin daughters who was forced to flee his home on Sunday.

Anderson says when he got the order to evacuate, he didn't have time to grab his wallet and could not bring his pets. In moments, he and his daughters became homeless and penniless.

Scott Craff, who is also staying at the stadium, talks to Alex Chadwick. He says several homes in his neighborhood were destroyed by wildfires, but he is not sure if his was one of them. The former South Carolina resident — who lived through annual hurricane threats — says wildfires are part of the danger of living in Southern California.

Also, UCLA atmospheric scientist Robert Fovell says the Santa Ana winds driving the wildfires originate in the cooler desert air surrounding Southern California. As the winds are forced down into the lower elevations of San Diego County, they compress and heat up, Fovell says, providing fuel to the wildfires.

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