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Wildfires threaten 100 homes on California’s Central Coast

Rucker Road is covered in fire retardant Friday as crews from multiple agencies fight a wildfire in the Mission Hills area of Lompoc, Calif.
(Len Wood / AP)
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A trio of wildfires raced through the hills of California’s Central Coast on Friday, threatening at least 100 homes as flames tore through tinder-dry brush.

Half a dozen small fires that erupted along a road Friday afternoon merged into three blazes that had burned 300 acres of thick manzanita, chaparral, grass and oak, Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason said.

Winds pushed the flames close to Lompoc neighborhoods, and about 900 people were told to evacuate, he said.

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“There’s fire right across the street from homes right now,” he said.

The evacuation area included La Purisima Mission, founded in 1787 and considered to be the most completely restored Spanish mission in California. Firefighters were guarding the historic building, Eliason said.

There was no immediate word on what caused the fires, although the California Highway Patrol indicated it was investigating whether a car dragging a chain might have sparked them.

Meanwhile, a Southern California fire that damaged four homes earlier in the week was 75% contained Friday.

The Canyon Fire that erupted Monday along the border between Corona and Anaheim turned 2,600 acres — about four square miles — of land to ash.

Firefighters managed to protect nearly 2,000 homes as the blaze shifted amid unpredictable winds southeast of Los Angeles.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the Canyon Fire remains under investigation.

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