California wildfire 'flare-up' forces new evacuations

Wildfires have forced thousands from their homes, as Rickin Majithia reports

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Firefighters have beaten back parts of the nine blazes raging in southern California, allowing thousands of displaced locals to return to the area.

But a flare-up of a wildfire in San Marcos prompted more than 13,000 new evacuation notices to residents.

The fires have destroyed at least 18 houses and two businesses and caused more than $20m (£12m) in damage.

A badly burned body was found in Carlsbad, but no details were available on its identity or cause of death.

Schools across the region were closed and a nuclear plant and a military base were earlier evacuated.

Months of drought have made California particularly prone to fire this year, and the crews managing the evacuations and battling the blazes have had to contend with sweltering heat.

But calmer winds on Thursday allowed aircraft - including four air tankers and 22 military helicopters - to be deployed to fight the flames.

A woman uses water on a fire in Escondido, California, on 15 May 2014 Locals struggled to ward off the flames in Southern California
A house burned in San Marcos, California, on 15 May 2014 The fires have caused an estimated $20m (£12m) in damage thus far
Firefighters battled the Cocos Fire in San Marcos, California, on 15 May 2014 More than 13,000 new evacuation notices were issued after a wildfire flare-up
A water bomber made a drop in San Marcos California, on 15 May 2014 A water bomber flew over a hillside in San Marcos, California
A fire fighter put out embers in San Marcos, California, on 15 May 2014 Evacuation advisories remained in effect on Thursday as firefighters fought to contain the blaze
San Diego Sherriff's deputies appeared in San Marcos, California, on 15 May 2014 San Diego Sherriff's deputies watched fire crews battle a blaze in San Marcos

A dramatic "firenado" spawned by one of the wildfires ravaging southern California was caught on camera on Wednesday

The Legoland theme park in Carlsbad was closed earlier due to power surges, while San Onofre nuclear power plant briefly evacuated non-essential staff as a precautionary measure.

And the campus of California State University-San Marcos, with almost 10,000 students, was shut down amid the university's final exams, with all commencement ceremonies cancelled.

Fires also hit the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton, between San Diego and Los Angeles.

Carlsbad fire chief Michael Davies said such fires were unprecedented this time of year.

"This is May, this is unbelievable. This is something we should see in October," he said.

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