San Marcos, California (CNN) — The good news: Temperatures and winds across scorched parts of southern California are starting to subside.
The bad news: Unruly wildfires keep barreling across the region, destroying homes and spawning “firenadoes” — funnels of flames that look like tornadoes.
With 10,000 acres of land already devoured, thousands of homes are still in jeopardy as at least six fires rage in the San Diego area.The worst wildfires in America
“It’s scariest at the moment, with the fire now like 100 yards from the homes,” San Marcos resident Kevin Giesey said. “I worry about the embers jumping into the grass next to the homes. It’s frightening.”
In just a few hours, fires in San Marcos went from minor blazes to raging infernos, filling the sky with bright orange flames and solid black smoke.
Unusually fierce winds mixed with the flames to spawn firenadoes. And grass parched by California’s severe drought meant any stray spark could start another blaze.
CNN’s Gary Tuchman saw a wildfire in San Marcos leap hundreds of yards in just seconds.
“It’s a moving target, as far as estimating size,” San Marcos Fire Chief Brett Van Wey said late Thursday. “It’s only about 5% contained, though.”
At least 5,000 homes have been evacuated in San Marcos.