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Originally published July 3, 2014 at 5:58 AM | Page modified July 4, 2014 at 3:08 AM

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California wildfires burn homes, threaten more

A wildfire destroyed two homes, threatened hundreds more and forced the cancellation of a Fourth of July parade and celebration in a historic gold-mining town in San Diego County.


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JULIAN, Calif. —

A wildfire destroyed two homes, threatened hundreds more and forced the cancellation of a Fourth of July parade and celebration in a historic gold-mining town in San Diego County.

The blaze that broke out Thursday near the mountain town of Julian was one of several burning across the state, including one in Northern California's Napa County that had also burned two homes and had grown to more than 6 square miles.

The San Diego County fire erupted around 10:30 a.m. prompted the mandatory evacuation of 200 homes in near Julian. The evacuations were canceled by the end of the day as firefighters had the 150-acre blaze 15 percent contained, state fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said.

But the threat to homes remained and the city would take the year off from its festive Fourth of July celebration that usually draws from 3,000 to 5,000 people.

"It's a big day for Julian," Michael Hart, publisher of local paper The Julian News told U-T San Diego.

The same area near Cleveland National Forest is where an 11-square-mile blaze destroyed more than 100 mountain cabins just a year ago.

Meanwhile the fire in Napa that broke out Tuesday raced up steep and rugged terrain, forcing firefighters to build containment lines without bulldozers, said Alicia Amaro, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze had scorched more than 4,300 acres by its third day, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. It has damaged nine structures, including the two homes.

The fire was burning to the north, away from the county's famed vineyards.

Residents in nearly 200 homes in a subdivision in the county's Pope Valley were allowed to return after an evacuation order was lifted Thursday afternoon, but 180 others remained threatened, state fire officials said.

Despite the fire-containment level plateauing at 30 percent, the nearly 1,100 firefighters on the scene were making steady progress as temperatures climbed into the mid-90s, Berlant said.

However, "it's still growing at a faster rate than we can build containment lines. We're also seeing a bit of a warming pattern, and the winds are picking up as well," Berlant said. "This fire is taking a very aggressive run."

Neither fire has brought any injuries and the causes of both remained unknown.



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